K. B. Turner (courtesy photo)
CPD Looking to Community for Involvement, Recruitment
At a series of public meetings held in each ward throughout the month of February, police consultant K.B. Turner and other city administrators heard from citizens about concerns and suggestions for improving public safety in the city: “I’m still very encouraged by what I have heard from the meetings during last month. Citizens have come out to express themselves and they honored my request … not to just talk about their frustrations but also to provide some recommendations and some suggestions as well,” Turner said.
“I think the meetings went well,” CPD Chief Oscar Lewis agreed. “There were different things that came out of the meetings. … It was far-reaching as far as community concerns.”
In order to best assess the local community’s concerns and ideas, Turner had attendees fill out surveys about crime and safety in the city, getting input on concerns ranging from concerns about drugs and gangs to the last time the person filling out the survey talked to a police officer to whether street lighting is adequate. Turner got approximately 180 surveys back from the six meetings.
He spoke of his initial findings to date, pending a more in-depth analysis to come: “How was it different between Ward 1 and Ward 6, for example? How about people who are retired versus those who are working? What about those who are below the age of 30 versus those who are over age 30?” Turner said.
Turner says that he plans to keep getting civilians involved with CPD. He was able to get roughly thirty volunteers signed up between the six meetings, though several others have also expressed interest in helping out. These civilians might be called upon to assist with traffic stops, clerical work, and other such things, so that they may help without placing themselves in danger.
“They would be in a non law enforcement capacity,” Turner said. “They will not have access to weapons or any other items that identify them as a law enforcement officer. A lot of (what they do) will be clerical in nature.”
In addition, he remarked that “We’re going to continue to engage in what I call this ‘aggressive’ form of recruiting for new officers.” About 50 people attended a CPD Career Day on February 25, Turner said. According to CPD’s Twitter, the department handed out 45 applications in about four hours. Before the day was up, 15 had been filled out and returned, City Public Information Officer Joe Dillon said, while more have come in since. Turner plans to hold another career day on March 25 — and it won’t be the last, he added. Dillon said the department will coordinate with universities to determine a good time closer to graduation when potential applicants could attend a career day.
Turner also wants to recruit from universities and military bases and institutions. He wants everyone who might be interested to know CPD is hiring officers.
“In terms of the future, we are going to continue to look ahead,” he added. “…What can we do for 2017 to enhance conditions to make sure we improve upon our staffing numbers and make this place a greater place to live? In terms of the department, we’re going to make Columbus the department destination for folks who want to work as an officer.”
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