Column: Trash fee addresses staffing needs

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Commentary by Chief Kevin Jowitt, Noblesville Police Dept.

Jowitt

Jowitt

While working on the Noblesville Police Dept. five-year strategic plan, completed in 2014, we identified the need to add police officers to address very specific crime reduction objectives. A total of six positions were requested and three were approved by the Noblesville Common Council through the 2015 budget.

Hiring four new police officers now will allow the police department to accomplish the goals in our 2014-15 strategic plan to develop data-driven crime reduction and targeted enforcement programs. Timing is important because if I hire a police officer today, he/she doesn’t go out onto the streets for nearly one year because of the training that is required.

Among the needs moving forward, the department would like to hire an intelligence officer, refill a position with the Hamilton-Boone Co. Drug Task Force and form a targeted enforcement unit, which we could task with specific enforcement activities that were related to specific problems we are having in Noblesville on a week-by-week or day-by-day basis.

These additions will allow us to identify specific problems we’re having and develop intelligence-driven data to help point us toward effective enforcement strategies. The targeted enforcement unit would then be tasked to implement those enforcement strategies and have an impact on whatever that problem is. The nature of what is problematic to public safety in Noblesville is constantly changing – problems could range from traffic accidents at a particular intersection to very specific theft or burglary problems – and I know these enforcement strategies will have an impact.

We also realized we need to take a more active role with preventative strategies. Hiring a fourth new officer will allow us to create a school resource officer program supervisor. That person also would be tasked with researching and developing more effective prevention programs targeting at-risk young people.

A growing community with a changing threat picture is going to require a police department that is growing concurrently. If we don’t begin to add police officers, we are going to begin to fall behind. We need these four police officers and we need alternative funding to address very specific problems we have in the community and to help keep those problems from being exasperated by staffing issues. I thank the community for its continued support of public safety.

Kevin Jowitt has served as police chief since 2009. He may be contacted by calling 776-6340.


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