Implement a practical yet effective intruder drill collaboratively with local schools to increase school safety and prepardness to be practiced by students and staff just as fire and tornado drills. This to include additional training of school staff and officials during their in-service days on the latest trends and techniques of responding to a hostile threat. The only way our schools will be prepared is by preparing and training. Now is the time. There are suggetions that we should arm teachers with weapons. I do not believe this is the answer to the problem. As we have seen recent national news across the nation where a teacher in Dalton, GA shoots his gun inside the classroom; a teacher in Douglass County, GA brought a handgun to school and shoots himself; a teacher who is also a reserve police officer trained in firearm use ‘accidentally’ discharged a gun at in Monterey County, CA, during a class devoted to public safety, and a male student was reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Clearly arming teachers is not the answer. We must begin rethinking how we prepare students and staff to respond to intruders and threats with drills, upgrades to entry and exit controls, coordinated movements, tactical escape plans and routes, and increased officer presence in schools.
Implementation of Civil Process Divison within the department to free up patrol officers from the back log of the day to day service of civil papers so that they can proactively patrol the county and be readily available to make walk throughs in the schools and respond quickly should the need arise. Officers will have more time to be a visible presence in the community and by doing so accomplish four things:
1) Maintaining an Increased Visibility
A key aspect of police patrol is providing a high visibility for the police force in a neighborhood. Visible patrolling officers provide residents, visitors, and others in an area a strengthened sense of safety and security. That's one reason officers who are serving on certain types of patrol, particularly in neighborhoods, will appear conspicuously in uniforms and marked patrol cars. They will visit both prominent locations and locations where past crimes have occurred to improve a sense of safety in those areas. Increased officer presence in county schools by the requirement of random walk throughs during school hours.
2) Engaging Citizens
Patrolling officers serve an important role in a department's community policing strategy. Because they are so visible on the street level, officers on patrol provide an opportunity for residents and others in a neighborhood to interact with the police. This engagement can lead to people passing along valuable information to officers, such as tips about recent or even pending crimes, and it can allow officers to pass along advice and resources to citizens. Patrol work diminishes the sense of distance and detachment between officers and citizens, making the police more accessible.
3) Stopping Crimes
Officers who patrol an area gain an intimate understanding of it. They pick up on the routines of neighborhoods and recognize when something is wrong or out of place. From a street level, they have an optimum view of an area and can look for potential crimes. This means spotting suspicious activity or circumstances. However, it also means recognizing when people make themselves vulnerable to becoming the target of crimes and being able to advise them on safety measures. In addition, the presence of officers on patrol can deter criminals from acting because of the possibility of being caught.
4) Answering Calls
When officers patrol high-crime areas routinely, they can respond quickly when reports of crimes in that area surface. Maintaining a presence in an area through patrols can improve the chances that officers will respond promptly to emergency calls and be able to aid a victim quickly or catch criminals before they can flee the area. They can also report to non-emergency complaints. In addition, police patrols look for traffic infractions, conduct stops and issue tickets. These four goals cannot be acommplished on a consistent basis if officers are primarily spending the bulk of their time traveling from stop to stop serving civil papers. The creation of a Civil Process Divison will alevieate this problem and allow patrol officers to focus more on partolling our community.
Utlilization of data entry clerks to free up dispatchers from excessive information process and replace the outdated C.A.D. (Computer Aided Dispatch) system with the latest technology which will allow dispatchers to perfom their job more efficiently.
Diversify the department by hiring women, Hispanics, and African American patrol officers so the department will be more reflective of the community it protects and serves.
Actively seek grants and funding to hire additional officers to bring the department up to at least the minimum standard of 5 officers per shift to cover one officer per zone and a supervisor to ensure increased visibility within the community.
Pay patrol officers overtime or comp time for any hours worked over regular scheduled time including required court appearances scheduled on their off days. Currently patrol officers are NOT paid for working overtime.
30 day review of the jail/corrections division to determine any corrective actions and polices to ensure state and federal guidelines are followed.
Continuation of housing and transportation of federal prisoners.
Host quarterly town hall meetings with citizens in different communities throughout the county to hear the concerns of the citizens and to share with them in solving any issues they may have. I will have an open door policy to any citizen of our county.