FROM THE NET WORKS NEWSLETTER, WINTER 2009, VOL. 25, NO. 1
Forging relationships and sharing information with other law enforcement agencies is important to Chief Jeanne Miller of the Davidson, North Carolina, Police Department. That’s why her first budget for the department included IACP Net.
Davidson (pop. 9,200), like many small communities, is changing rapidly as its population grows and ages. Reaching out to departments of all sizes helps Chief Miller meet the myriad challenges of creating programs for a changing demographic, educating drivers to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe, avoiding liability on a small-town budget, and more.
“IACP Net can be a starting point to connect with other agencies,” noted Chief Miller. “Then departments can start in-depth dialogue.”
For example, the Davidson Police Department networked with peer departments on IACP Net’s Quest-Response Service and used the information to create and implement a walking program. As part of the program, the department mandates officers to get out of their cruisers for two hours daily to walk through business districts, senior residential communities, and other areas. The program is one of the ways officers stay on top of tactical information and connected to the community.
Connect to Community
Community connection also emerges through programs targeting driver education. “Davidson has a lot of greenways, so teaching drivers to be respectful of pedestrian crossings is a big part of what we do,” said Chief Miller, who uses IACP Net to find new policies and programs on creative traffic enforcement.
“We’ll stop drivers going five to six miles over the limit — without citing them — for the purpose of educating them about traffic safety,” said the chief.
Keep Seniors Safe
Vial of Life, discovered through IACP Net, is a sub-program the Davidson Police Department is considering implementing as a part of Aging in Place, an umbrella program that works with all arms of government to keep seniors safe.
Through this initiative, seniors would keep medical information in a vial in the freezer, so they would always know where it was. A sticker would be placed on the front door so emergency personnel could locate the vial. “We like to see seniors stay in their homes for as long as they are willing and able,” said Chief Miller.
Avoid Legal Pitfalls
At 19 sworn, Chief Miller’s department recently received CALEA recognition status and is moving forward to become fully accredited. “Using IACP Net heavily for program and policy development, we can really take advantage of the good work other accredited agencies have done,” said Chief Miller.
This goes double when it comes to litigious issues. “Law enforcement is usually the most heavily litigated department in the United States,” pointed out Chief Miller. “And even though we’re a small community, we still have some of the same legal issues as larger urban departments. Since we don’t have a full-time legal staff, we’ve relied on IACP Net for information you might get from a bigger department’s legal section — such as potential legal pitfalls and legal research.”
The town manager and the board recognize the value of keeping IACP Net in the budget. “Davidson has an educated board who understands the importance of access to information and efficiency,” said Chief Miller. “If my department had to do policy and program development from scratch, the man-hours used would be far greater than the cost of IACP Net.”
“IACP Net allows us to take advantage of research that other cities are performing,” said the chief. “IACP Net is some of the best and most effective money we spend at the Davidson Police Department.”
[Editor’s Note: Chief Miller has retired from the Davidson Police Department. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.]