Friday, July 8, 2011

Police Chief Chat

            This past week, the Rolla Police Department handled 849 calls for service. Of these calls there were: 32 arrests, 12 alarm calls, 26  traffic accidents, 43 traffic complaints, 19 check the well being requests, 107 traffic stops, 31 disturbance calls (including domestics – 13 of those are fireworks complaints), 11 suspicious nature calls, 23 assists of other agencies, 9 narcotics violations, 50 security checks, 36 stealing reports and 4 abandoned vehicles. This call total is up 82 calls from last week and yes, another busy week!

            Reports from the Patrol Division indicate a somewhat safe and relatively incident free 4th of July holiday weekend. If you checked our stats in the previous paragraph, we only responded to 13 firework related complaints in which none of the calls resulted in injury. This is quite impressive considering the popularity of backyard firework displays. As usual the Rolla Lion’s Club offered an amazing fireworks display on Saturday night and then again on Monday, July 4th. Patrons of the fireworks display and the Lion’s Club Carnival were very patient each evening during the brief traffic congestion as spectators left the park area. We owe the safe weekend to the community who used caution and common sense and provided supervision to those discharging fireworks. We hope you had a safe and fun filled weekend.

            As I have mentioned in previous Chief Chat columns and on our Facebook site, we are looking into joining the CodeRed Emergency Warning System. This system is an internet based high-speed notification system that will provide alerts to subscribers on severe weather, street and school closings, emergency crime information and hundreds of other services through land line phones, cell phones and even computers. One key feature of the CodeRed System is the automated weather alert feature that will provide severe weather “watches” and “warnings” as soon as they are released through the National Weather Service without any operator input. In other words, you receive the information from the NWS directly as soon as it is released.

            We looked into this system as an added early warning system to our citizens. Although expensive, the system can be purchased as a group option with several entities entering into the agreement and thus sharing the costs. Each entity will have total control of the use of the system independent of each other. For example the school system could enter into the agreement and use the system for early school cancellation, changes in bus routes or school closings. Public works could utilize the system for street closings, damaged water mains or whatever needs may arise. We as law enforcement would be able to provide information on dangerous criminals at large, hostage situations, dangerous roads and many other warnings. I feel that we are in need of this type of system and will be visiting with other agency heads in the next couple weeks to gather support. This is just one more step in keeping our citizens safe and what price do you put on saving a life?

            In our search for the best system we researched other similar type products but found CodeRed to be the best product available. The cost for this system with the weather alert feature and unlimited texting to the CodeRed Warning system, is nearly $40,000.00 per year. We hoped to include several other agencies within the county in the plan to reduce costs to each but still be able to utilize the product as the agencies needs arise. We also contacted several other agencies within the State of Missouri currently using the CodeRed system and received nothing but high marks on the abilities and time saving measures in place. Most agencies reported that they do not know how they got along without CodeRed in the past. We will keep you posted on the progress of instituting this product here in Phelps County.

Have a great week!

Staff Sergeant Rick Williams