Fighting crime and keeping people safe is always job 1 but each year the Police Department re-evaluates their methods for doing that and this year they’ve set 3 priorities to improve their service in the Kent community.
Here’s the message from Chief Lee outlining the goals for 2018:
The following department goals have been identified through an evaluation process as outlined in the Kent Police Department’s Operating Procedure 1.8. Specifically, crime trends, community needs and growth as well as interdepartmental necessities were the basis for the goals identification. I encourage and support all department personnel to participate in individual and collective efforts in achieving these annual department goals.
- Police Building Project – Our goal is to first occupy the building which will be completed in two phases. Phase one includes most of police administrative offices and detective bureau employees. These offices occupy the third floor which has little impact on various punch-list items still being completed by the contractor. The second phase includes patrol division, jail operations and the communications staff which are all operationally dependent on each other and share many of the same systems. The phased move is dependent on when the 911 phone system can be transitioned over to the new facility by AT&T which includes mobilizing dispatchers at KSUPD and Kent FD. The biggest aspect of a carefully planned and synchronized phase two move is to ensure Kent residents continue to receive exceptional service as they’ve come to expect. Good communication with the public will help us lessen any inconveniences caused by operating out of two buildings and transitioning to a new phone system. Transitioning over to a new police facility will continue to be a work in process. There are and will be aspects in design and functional equipment that we must adapt to and accept as positive changes. We will certainly be busy showcasing our new facility this year and for years to come which is a responsibility we are fortunate to experience.
- MARCS Radio Project – Our current radio system coverage has been a safety issue since 2012 when the State of Ohio narrow-banding mandate took effect. Radio coverage is poor and we have exhausted all efforts to upgrade equipment and amplify signal strength with only minimal coverage improvement. We are fortunate that Kent City Council and Mr. Ruller has prioritized our safety concerns to enable emergency services to purchase new communications equipment with public funds of $547,000. MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications System) is a 700/800MHZ digital radio system owned and operated by the state of Ohio. The necessary equipment includes 33 mobile radios for marked police and fire vehicles, 100 portable radios, dispatch equipment and a radio repeater. This equipment has been purchased and is being programmed in conjunction with other county emergency responders currently using or anticipating a move to the MARCS system. This project is currently on hold until the communications center is operating out of the new police building and the new equipment is installed. I anticipate a spring/summer timeline to move forward the implementation of this equipment. I ask all Police members to continue to be patient until this project is finalized.
- Staffing Stabilization – Our staffing issues seem to ebb and flow more frequently than we would like to experience. There are a myriad of reasons why we’ve lost employees but the important aspect to focus on is retaining employees. We have been operating for the past several years with vacant positions in patrol and dispatch. I am hopeful that with new eligibility lists for both of those classifications we can fill and maintain full staffing by summer or early fall. This will take a concerted effort of all police members during the hiring process, training objectives, and maintaining a positive welcoming culture for new employees. There has been considerable time and consideration given to a study to determine the feasibility of transitioning our part-time Clerk Dispatcher positions into full-time positions. This project has also had to sit idle due to the police department move but I anticipate the results of that study to be finalized within weeks. That information will be shared and studied to determine how the city is best suited moving forward.