On Tuesday, the Columbus Police Department will be sponsoring our Annual National Night Out on Crime Block Parties. The events will be held at the following locations: East Columbus Gym, Charles Brown, Sims Scott Park, Sandfield Community Center and Avenue A and B at the Housing Authority. This year we have the MUW Campus also joining our endeavors. They will be adding to our celebration with activities behind the old Demonstration School. These events show the community''s concern for its safety and quality of life in our city.
It is also a time to reflect on our goals and objectives in terms of serving our community. The Columbus Police Department first published its goals and objectives after they were approved by City Council on Nov. 17, 2009. Over the past six months these are many of the items that were accomplished to help the Columbus Police Department became a more effective agency and meet our goals and objectives:
- The first page of our Goals and Objectives has been printed on poster size paper and these posters will be displayed throughout the department as a reminder to our employees and the citizens of the CPD''s core values.
- A copy of the complete Goals and Objectives has been disseminated throughout the department and has been published on the WCBI website and in The Commercial Dispatch.
- In the area of reducing the crime rate, the CPD has continued to work closely with the community in re-establishing the police substations. As of the present time, we have functioning substations in Oak Manor, Sims Scott, East Columbus, CPI/Main Street and Leigh Mall.
- The CPD also has a full time Captain in place that organizes, maintains and supervises each special event, i.e.; Market Street, Juneteenth, etc., to ensure that these events continue in a safe and secure manner.
- The CPD has also established a DICE Team that works exclusively on the weekends and addresses the "bar and club" concerns we have throughout the city.
- The CPD has trained and organized a three person "Bike Patrol." The detail has started working special events and in the future, as personnel allows, this detail will begin to work as a full-time team. They will be assigned to use the substations, but will not be at any one substation full- time.
- A new McGruff suit has been purchased and is being utilized as part of our crime prevention strategy in both the media and public appearances.
- The Columbus Police Department has continued hiring qualified applicants and presently has seventy-one officers on their roster. This includes: two who are on light duty and six who are scheduled to go to the academy in the near future.
- In addition, we have re-organized the Reserve Police and presently have five in the Reserve Academy.
- The Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) has been installed along with in-car cameras. We are still working on technological issues to ensure that we can get the optimum from our new technologies.
- The new T-3s have been ordered to ensure that we have greater mobility with the community and will be used in the area of Traffic Enforcement and special activities.
- All of the above technologies will also assist with community safety and Internal Affairs investigations.
- We will have a Citizen Survey ready to be mailed by the first quarter of 2011.
- Sergeant James Grant has taken over as the Accreditation Manager. Policy and Procedure manuals have been disseminated and we are meeting with the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Committee to ensure our compliance. The organization will be here in the near future to review our files for accuracy.
- In the 2010-2011 calendar years, more in-service Columbus Police Department specific training will be utilized throughout the department.
- A FATS (Firearm Training Simulator) Machine that was donated by the CAFB is being used for Firearms Training.
n Formation of a Community Advisory Team to help with: computer technology, finances, and fundraisers.
- Columbus Police Department employees are more involved in the community by participating in PRAM, United Way, RSVP, and Civitan Club.
- Forming a Committee from inside the Police Department to research computer concerns.
- Working with a security company to install cameras at the River Walk.
- Added an additional Police Chaplain for Police spiritual matters.
- Continue to work with the Citizen''s Police Academy and the Alumni Association for police related activities.
- Getting more involved with kids activities with the Columbus Lowndes Recreation and the Columbus City Schools.
- We have purchased a new riding lawn mower and edger through funds donated by the Citizen''s Police Academy.
- Built a new storage building at the range.
- Purchased a new Target System at the firing range.
- Built walls at the Maximum Medical Building to separate K-9 from Animal Control and built doors to separate K-9 from Narcotics.
- A speed monitoring device has been donated by CAFB and is now being used for traffic control.
- Created a Warrant Service Unit and in conjunction with the Columbus Municipal Courts. In 2010, our joint amnesty project brought in a total of $ 438,429.86 in fines.
- Sgt. Rick Jones will be charge of creating the "Columbus Police Department Bike Unit."
As citizens prepare for National Night Out, it is important to understand that it will take everyone standing to together to fight crime. It will also take everyone standing together to assist the Columbus Police Department to accomplish their goals and objectives. After serving as Police Chief for three years, I know we will accomplish our goals with the assistance of the community. I know that united we can take a "Bite out of Crime!"