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It is hard to believe a new year is upon us. The beginning of the year brings forth New Year’s resolutions, changes, excitement and a new start. For the police department, we are excited to publish our new strategic plan encompassing internal and external goals for the next three years. The plan is intended to be transparent about our service delivery, growth expectancy in the community, and the impact of service from the growth. Many of you participated in community forums with the police department last year as we asked for your input into our strategic plan. We anticipate being able to publish the report by the end of January or beginning of February.
One of the primary goals in the strategic plan is officer retention. With multiple retirements in the past few years, the department has hired several new officers. For the first time in more than a decade, the police department is fully staffed with police personnel. This is a testament to the support the of city council to support several recruitment strategies. Now the focus becomes retaining the personnel we worked so hard to hire while retaining the tenured employees who have dedicated their service to our great city.
Another exciting report that will be published this month is the department’s 2018 Annual Report. Every year, we publish a report highlighting the department’s successes, personnel and public data from the previous year. During the public forums the community asked us to publish more data than in previous years to include data on use of force arrests and ethnicity of traffic stops. Thanks to the support of our city council two years ago, our new reporting software allows us to populate that data and we will publish the data in the 2018 Annual Report. Both reports will be published on our website and are free to the public.
This month, we anticipate publishing a public website known as Police 2 Citizen (P2C) allowing the public to view non-restricted police reports, arrests and crash reports. The reports can be viewed or downloaded from the site for free. The technology is provided through our reporting software which will add another layer of transparent policing which has become a policing industry best practice.
Another exciting fact from 2018 is that our overall crime rate for the city is at an all-time low! The credit for the lowest crime in the past 14 years goes to our community partners and the dedicated professionals of the police department. A lot of hard work, strategy and implementing nationally recognized best practices contributed to the low crime rate. One strategy that proved effective, one which we continue to advocate, is the “See Something Say Something” campaign. When you see something that doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t and you should report the activity immediately to 911.
In closing, thank you for the support of our department. There truly is Unity in Community!
Have a blessed weekend.
David Hess, Roxboro’s chief of police, writes a monthly column for The Courier-Times. If you have suggestions for a future column, submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.