Second of a Three-Part Series
Last month, I highlighted some of the local and national challenges faced by law enforcement agencies, including negative public perception and challenges with recruitment.
This month I’d like to focus on the good news of law enforcement, and there is certainly plenty to tout in our local department.
Meet Chief Kevin Thacker
On May 16, 2014, Kevin Thacker, a 31-year employee of Sandy City, was sworn in as the new police chief. Chief Thacker was complimentary of the direction the previous chief had taken the department. “Chief Chapman ran an efficient and innovative department,” said Thacker. “I plan on continuing the valuable programs he helped start, including the Youth Court Program, the Community Response Team and the Family Crimes Intervention Unit.”
Chief Thacker’s underlying philosophy moving forward is to find better ways to communicate with the community. “We want to continue to build upon the trust we have with the community and, most importantly, work towards resolving issues not just responding.”
In addition, Chief Thacker will continue to hire quality officers who know the value of community-oriented policing, and he remains dedicated to ongoing training.
New Mission Statement
Our police department didn’t have a mission statement, although they did have fundamental core values. Chief Thacker felt strongly that we needed to formalize our expectations to help create the culture under which both officers and the public could thrive.
“It is one thing to have core values, but it is more powerful to have a statement on how those core values should be implemented in everyday policing.”
We operate under a community-oriented policing culture where we expect our officers to interact with the public, take time to talk to and get to know them and to truly be a part of the community. Of course, we want our officers to always be on the lookout for offenders, but community policing involves injecting good, not just removing the bad. Our officers are trained to not just address the problem, but look for permanent solutions.
Programs to Build a Community
Night Out Against Crime
National Night Out Against Crime is celebrated to heighten crime awareness and strengthen neighborhood watches. This year, the Night Out Against Crime will be on Tuesday, August 4. Traditionally, National Night Out Against Crime is celebrated by everyone turning on outdoor lights and taking flashlight walks through the neighborhood. Additionally, neighborhoods around Sandy will be organizing parties and cookouts to celebrate the evening. We also have elected officials, our police department and city officials participating by speaking on important issues of concern to residents. Last year, we highlighted the need for residents to protect themselves against property crime. Contact Amy Bryant at 801-568-6090 for additional information about the celebration near you.
Good Driving Tickets Campaign
We had great success last year with our Good Driving Tickets campaign, where residents were pulled over for good behavior and given a ticket: a movie ticket, that is. Good behaviors included stopping at the “stop line” and not obstructing a crosswalk, yielding to oncoming traffic on left turns, driving so as not to interfere with pedestrian/bicycle traffic, stopping before making right turns, making proper lane changes and other positive driving behaviors.
Community Response Team (CRT)
The CRT consists of four officers and a sergeant who are tasked with addressing specific issues within a specific area. This program dramatically improves the safety of our community by taking a proactive approach to persistent problems such as vandalism, criminal mischief and residential burglaries.
Valley-wide Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) Taskforce
We are dedicated to continuing our partnership with this coordinated effort to combat drug issues across the valley. We will ensure greater success by building up our local narcotics division as well.
Ongoing Outreach and Education
We regularly hold a Citizen’s Academy designed to give residents the opportunity to better understand “a day in the life” of officers. Highlights include firearms, K-9 demonstrations, patrol basics and defensive tactics. Participants gain a greater understanding of police work while having a lot of fun.
Animal Services No Kill Philosophy
Sandy City Council recently adopted a No Kill philosophy that would eliminate euthanasia for pets due to length of stay or space in the facility and will seek to rehabilitate animals whenever possible.
Attend Community Meetings
We are dedicated to having an ongoing, positive presence in our community. Our officers make time to attend local meetings to hear feedback from the residents and develop a pattern of residents and officers working together for the unified goal of creating a safer community.
Sandy City residents can feel confident they have a quality police department that is trained and dedicated to not only protecting them, but to doing their duty with integrity, a service-oriented attitude and excellence.