Officer Jason Bradley

State recognition just latest in long line of policing progress

October 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

Solving parks/property destruction the result of problem-solving efforts “It was Rockford’s shining night,” Police Chief Dave Jones described the evening ceremonies on Tuesday, October 10, when the entire Rockford Police Department earned the distinction of being the Outstanding Unit of all the members of the Crime Prevention Association of Michgan.   Jones made the bold move of nominating the entire department for the honor that usually goes to a committee or group of officers whose duties are dedicated to community policing. With 13 officers, Jones said every officer in the department is trained in and implements community policing practices on a daily basis. He said community policing goes beyond outreach programs such as D.A.R.E and National Nite Out and said problem solving policing is at the core of community policing practices. If you feel safe in our local parks lately, thank community policing. Jones described a four-prong model of problem-solving his department implemented over the course of years to curb increasing vandalism incidents Rockford faced a few years ago. With the acronym SARA, for Scan, Analyze, Respond and Assess, the long-term result are a good example of community policing in action. Not long ago, there was a chronic problem in downtown with youth incidents of destruction and even harassment. The Ten Mile Bridge overpass was awash in graffiti. A toilet in the Welcome Center was blown up. Welcome signs to the City were repeatedly destroyed. Picnic tables, gazebos and benches were being damaged repeatedly. “It got to the point people didn’t feel safe in our parks, particularly the fitness trail to the west of Richardson-Sowerby Park,” Jones said. He said that area had become a congregating area for drug use and dealing, profanity. “We all know kids will be kids, but when people didn’t feel safe, we felt it was time to take action.” Jones said fighting the escalating vandalism wasn’t a quick-fix and started with a grant that allowed the department to install cameras for areas where vandalism was occurring. He then set aside some of his part-time budget to hire officers who were dedicated to park patrol during the summer. Rockford’s Department of Public Service was also enlisted. “As soon as an incident took place, they cleaned it up,” Jones stated. “If they […]