Message from the Chief of Police
Each year has its defining moments, but how could we have predicted what this year would bring for our profession? From a global pandemic, to civil unrest, to waves of political change and calls for reform and defunding the police, the policing profession has been weathering one massive storm after another. Looking back at the very difficult and unusual 2020 and all that happened throughout the year with the pandemic and the many challenges that we as a City had to overcome. I can honestly say, “Together we can …. Together we did.” I continue to be extremely proud of the men and women of the West Plains Police Department. Their continued dedication and commitment to our community is nothing short of amazing.
In order to have a great city, you must have a police department that focuses on the community. I thank our police officers for their commitment and concerns for our community through a very difficult year to achieve the many different programs that we planned to have throughout 2020 that had to be cancelled due to the restrictions and measures that had to take place with the COVID-19 Pandemic. I also want to thank the community for their support and standing behind us during a very challenging time, nationwide.
During 2020, there have been continued changes in the West Plains Police Department throughout the year. While the changes made in the Department are often challenging, the changes made in the Department are seeing positive results. These positive changes are leading to continued progress. In the words of Tony Robbins, “Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.” The continued and progressive progress we are seeing as a Department and City would not have begun had it not been for the ranks of officers who held their oath to heart every day of their job.
This dedicated, professional police force of twenty-eight men and women recognizes that the people in our community are our most important customers, and they work in partnership with all people to solve problems that affect public safety. We should never forget that the men and women of the West Plains Police Department are the agency’s most valuable resource.
Throughout 2020, we have continued to build onto our Geographic Policing Program that is accomplished by collaborating with citizens and neighborhood and community groups to better understand the needs of the community so that we may develop solutions to problems and provide efficient responses. Each patrol officer, supervisor, and detective have been assigned to a specific area of the city. This allows our personnel to work together to become familiar with businesses and individuals who reside in the area. This familiarity allows the officer to establish relationships which improves the communication between the department and the public. This improved communication between the police and the public has achieved our goal of continuing to provide a safer and prosperous community.
Sector email addresses have been developed to allow the community to send email to those officers, supervisors and investigators that are assigned their Sector. The sector officers have addressed problems that were identified in their sectors. An example of one of these projects is working with numerous organizations within the City of the homelessness and the need of shelters when winter weather is a factor. The prospects of providing a warming center or location where the homeless can go to get out of the environment when weather becomes unbearable.
The West Plains Police Department’s core values have been created to better reflect our dedication and commitment to the citizens of West Plains. These core values are defined as:
Maintain Integrity by honoring the trust citizens place in us.
Practice Respect by valuing human life, having considerate and courteous regard for all persons.
Provide Accountability by partnering with the community to ensure the highest quality of life and always be accountable for our actions.
Exhibit Professionalism by treating all people with dignity and fairness.
The City of West Plains remains a vibrant, safe city and it has been a pleasure interacting with the neighborhoods, businesses, and University to work towards making it stay this way. The Police Department is hoping 2021 brings some relief from the pandemic and allows our officers and staff to continue to build on the networks and bridges that they started in 2019 and continued in 2020. The Department misses the Coffee-With-a-Cop gatherings and are hopeful for the First Citizen Academy to be set after the previous one had to be postponed. The development of the Police Cadet Program is also on the schedule as soon as the Department is able to organize and plan the meetings.
While this has been a remarkably busy and productive year for the West Plains Police Department, it has certainly not been what any of us expected. I am very proud of the work we have accomplished as a Department and a profession. We have had to quickly adapt to new and pressing challenges this year, and it has been my honor and privilege to lead this amazing organization.