Evolution. I am not asking if you agree or disagree with the belief. I think we can all agree that evolution exists in some fashion. In my 45 years, I have seen Tippecanoe County evolve. I have seen ways in which crimes are being committed and how those too have evolved. It is time we all do something about it through community outreach. When I think of community outreach I think of doing things that are outside the box, if you will. As police officers we are already required to patrol neighborhoods, check schools, traffic enforcement, etc. I personally feel we need to go beyond this. Community outreach, to me, is breaking down those walls between police and citizens so there is a relationship built. Not just any relationship, but a relationship built on trust. Community outreach is such an important part of law enforcement. It is something we have to work on and we will. You have my word. My vision is to have a “go to person” known as a Public Information Officer (PIO). Along with myself, we will have an officer that reaches out to the media, uses social media, attends events, assists in presentations to the community, and attend meetings with neighborhood watch groups. This will not only help us tear down walls, but it also helps us build a positive and trusting relationship with our citizens.
Our community is diverse but our department is lacking in this area. I want us to attend job fairs and such to let people know the opportunities we have and inform them about our special teams: water rescue, S.R.T. bomb team/E.O.D., crisis negotiation, and K-9 unit. We have to work at attracting more diverse and qualified applicants.
A positive relationship with our local media is a must. They need us and we need them. They are a tremendous resource for reaching our community. I would like to do “sit downs” with the media to go over a “state of the county” so to speak. We will go over crime trends, tips to keep you safe and how to avoid being a victim. Doing this would make us more transparent but at the same time it will help break down those walls I spoke of and help us build those trusting relationships with our citizens. Trusting relationships will lead to better communication, people will feel empowered to talk to our officers, share information with us, and make a positive change in our community. I currently assist with a social media presentation with our School Resource Officers and Ashley Greely. This is something that is new, but developed because of a concern from a Harrison High School staff member who was finding people she knew were oblivious to the social media apps children were using. Our team worked together and came up with a short presentation so individuals have a better understanding of the social media apps kids, as well as adults, are using. This all started with someone feeling comfortable enough to reach out to law enforcement with a concern. We were informed and came up with a plan of action to educate the community. We must work harder to develop and maintain trusting relationships just as this. We are listening.
In my career the biggest complaint I receive is “people speed down my road all the time”. If elected we will work toward having a system in place to where citizens can file their traffic complaints with our department through our website, social media, face to face and by calling into the department. We will see which areas receive the highest complaints, discuss those areas amongst the administration, and then our officers will target those areas. We will then pull that data, at a predetermined time, and report the results back to the community by, again, working with local media and using social media. I am hearing your concerns!
I will work with local organizations to bring events to this area that will benefit those organizations. Teaming up with these organizations is another avenue we can use to build a better relationship with our community. I will encourage officers to show up at events just to walk around and talk to people. We have to get rid of the public perception that police only show up when bad things are happening. We are real, we work, dine out, shop, and raise families here too. We are part of this awesome community. Lets get back to the old ways of policing. I firmly believe you must know the community in order to police it. That means officers will get out of their cars and interact with the public and I will ask that officers patrol areas where events are taking place such as, neighborhood garage sales, neighborhood watch meetings, and events at schools. Seeing the deputies at these events will deter criminal activity and continue to build the positive relationship needed to make Tippecanoe County a safe place to live, work, got to school, and raise a family.