Since Nov. 23, 2011, (the day I was sworn-in as Chief of Police), I have attempted to come up with ways to engage our community to help us keep our community safer. With your help, we have been able to host our first-ever Community Safety Day this last summer, visit your neighborhoods and share prevention messages and current information, and begin a renewed effort in our schools for DARE and GUIDE while arresting many individuals for drug-related crimes. We have been asked to speak at many community meetings, or groups, and attempt to share information that you may find helpful. We still need your help!
I have come to find that there are still those that don’t believe it is their “job” to keep crime out of our neighborhoods, it is just law enforcement’s. There are still those that believe that as long as they don’t think anyone is looking, it is okay to violate the law. This is why security companies are a booming business.
We have still others that believe that no one will hold them accountable for their own actions, so they continue to prey on the vulnerable. Our goal is to make sure that criminals know that just because law enforcement may not be around them at the time they are ready to commit their act, you are and you are ready to call us.
My charge to you this New Year is to join with us to make our community a better place to live. Public safety is everyone’s job.
Police are in a constant juggling act with staffing levels, accurate information, and available opportunities to be at the right spot at the right time. Sometimes that means that we miss an opportunity to be prompt to your submitted information because we are tied up doing other crime fighting.
For example, you may take time to report a suspicious person, but we can’t get there immediately because we are across town handling an injury crash. Please don’t get frustrated, we can only respond as safely and quickly as possible based on our current situation. Unfortunately, that may mean that the person you phoned in gets away, or out of sight for now. Believe me, it bothers my staff when we cannot get to a location in time to handle your concerns. That doesn’t mean we will give up on your information. In fact, your phone call may help us solve a crime that you didn’t know ever occurred because you took time to report someone acting suspiciously.
Being a good witness is a significant part of what we can hope for from our citizens. We certainly don’t want anyone to put themselves in harm’s way, but you can do a lot from just watching and taking good mental notes from a safe location.
As we start 2014, please take time to do a safety check for your home, your vehicles, and your family. Be sure you are aware of your surroundings. Be mindful of financial scams, by telephone, Internet and mail. Every year we receive numerous complaints of possible scams that have been used. Thieves will continue to get more and more creative to get your hard-earned money! Don’t ever give out personal information or banking information to any entity unless you have confirmed their identity first.
Parents — are you keeping your children safe from online predators? If you don’t know what sites your children have visited in the last month, please be sure to check, after all most of the time- you are paying the bill. Teenagers — are you sure you would want to have your parents read all of your texts, or see the photos you just sent? Please take responsibility for your safety and future. Please don’t let technology ruin your lives or the lives of your families. It has been said that the Internet has been the best and the worst thing ever invented. Evil lurks on the Internet in many varieties, please be sure you are taking Internet safety seriously.
In closing, I hope that you join the members of the Bellefontaine Police Department in making our community a safe place to live, work and play. We have a great community with a lot to offer visitors and long-term residents.
I ask you to take pride in our community by joining us in our mission to keep you and your family safe! You may call our main phone line at (937) 599-1010, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. As always, if you have an emergency, please call 9-1-1.
If you would prefer to email us, you may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website for more information.
Brandon K. Standley, is chief of the Bellefontaine Police Department.