Upon my arrival in Marshall, Texas I noticed several areas which I believed improvement could be made in regards to public perception of the police department. I adopted a Community Policing Based Philosophy to remove any preconceived notions that the community might have that the police were racially motivated or unapproachable. The following efforts, initiatives, and programs have been put into place to ensure that the Marshall Police Department maintains a positive relationship within the community that we serve and ensure a high visibility in the neighborhoods that we patrol.
I. One of the major areas of concern with the community in 2014, as I began to speak to them, was that they never saw police presence in the area or their neighborhood. After careful consideration on this issue, I realized that our patrol cars looked more like taxies and could not be recognized as police cars. This prompted me to change the logo and design a new graphic on the patrol units to make them visible to the community that we serve. The logo design is appealing, highly visible, and reflective at night. After installation of the new graphics on the units, citizens spoke positively of the new change and made comments as to how many new officers we had hired as they would now see police cars everywhere.
II. Coffeewith the Chief and Cops is a meeting that we host once a quarter in different parts of the community to allow the citizens to join us in an informal gathering where they can have a cup of coffee and address any issues that they may have.
(A) Catholic Church
(B) Wiley College
(C) Civic Center
(E) Bel-Air Manor Apartment Complex
III. Media relations: We strive to maintain a professional and open line of communication with the media to ensure a proper depiction of the facts. Plenty of law enforcement agencies, to name a few (Ferguson, Baltimore, Albuquerque, Phoenix), have operated under a cloak of secrecy for many years and because of that have had to deal with Public Relations nightmares. Once a year I host a luncheon of all media with in our region to address any issues or concerns that they may have and to afford them the opportunity to see behind the scenes workings of our agency.
(A). Implemented a Public Information Officer to insure that up to the minute information is pushed out and to be as transparent as legally possible.
(B) The media has supported us and has been very positive about all the great things that we are doing here in Marshall.
IV. Social Media Campaign: to keep up with the way many of our citizens communicate, we have launched a very aggressive up to the minute social media campaign to ensure that members of the community are kept up to date on any emergency issues that may arise. We have established our SM to ensure that members of the community are advised of any meetings or any upcoming city events which are sponsored by the PD.
V. Active Police Chief and Staff: We attempt to attend every event that is sponsored by the city to show the community that we have a great working relationship with members of the community. I attend these events with my family and post them on our social media in an attempt to get citizens excited about the things that are occurring in our community. I also do this to show the community that they are safe and should not have any hesitation in taking part in any event that we do in Marshall.
VI. New Motto, Vision, Value, and Mission Statements: We at the MPD believe and understand that our job is to protect the community that we serve. Every action that we take is to insure that every citizen of the City of Marshall is provided with the quality of life they deserve. "Putting our Community First."
VII. Internal Affairs: The Office of Internal Affairs was created to ensure that all members of the Marshall Police Department comply with all of our Rules and Regulations and provided the citizens with a simplified way of filing a complaint against any officer or member of the agency that violated such rule.
(A) The first city in East Texas to implement and purchase body camera's for better documentation of citizen contacts.
VIII. Office of Professional Standards: Was created as we update our policies and procedures to be current and up to date based on State and National Standards. We are in the process of becoming recognized as one of the Best Standards Recognized Agencies by the Texas Police Chief’s Association. Less than 1% of LE agencies in Texas meet this standard. This again will ensure that our citizens are represented and provided by the best.
IX. National Night Out: In an attempt to better serve the community of Marshall the MPD moved NNO to the City Square in hopes of allowing more citizens to participate in this event. In the past and in the way it was organized, attendance resulted in a little over 150 citizens participating. On our first New National Night Out Event, we had over 2,000 citizens participate. This event brought out every demographic representation in the community. This event spearhead by the Police Department demonstrated that city, county, fire, local business and the education community can come to gather and demonstrate that the streets and the night belong to our great citizens.
X. No Colors No Labels: In talking to the community, many felt that the police were racially motivated, and did not trust us. The reality was that this was a misconception built on by years of misunderstood criticism on both ends of the spectrum. This is what led me to create the ‘NoColors No Labels Initiative.’ Through education, transparency, partnerships, food, unity and faith. This initiative proves that the world can change and unite to put an end to racial misconceptions.
XI: Community Picnic: In an attempt to unite the community and build strong relationships with the community that we serve we hosted the 1st Annual Back to School Picnic at West End Park. Over 200 children and adults participated in this free picnic.
XII. MCAT / Traffic Units: In order to provide our citizens with a proactive community policing based form of policing I created the MCAT unit. This unit is detached from the regular patrol units and is designed to respond to high crime areas and address current hot zones through predictive policing based on crime statistics. The traffic unit was reestablished to ensure traffic safety and to provide education on DWI with the purchase of Fatal Vision Goggles.
XIII. DARE and Community Service Officer: George Gill is providing DARE education and developing new neighborhood watch locations.
XIV. Community Patrol Cruiser: This vehicle was purchased with red light funds and had no impact on the city budget. This vehicle was purchased to provide security and allow for fast response to an emergency situation that may occur during one of the many family oriented community festivals that the City of Marshall provides year round.
XV. ETBU, Wiley, TSTC, and MISD: Working in partnerships such as with NCNL, addressing security issues, training, and sponsorships.
XVI. Community support: Local Business, citizens, media, and the education sector have all stepped up to the plate to provide us with support when we asked for assistance in raising funds to purchase a K-9 for the agency. They raised enough money to purchase two K-9’s. The community showers us with thank you cards, food, candy, baked goods, notes, and phone calls on a daily basis in support of all the good work we have done. The community has approached me about trying to find ways to fund our major MDT project that we desperately need.
XVII. Lower Crime Rate: In as little as four months in 2014, the MPD reduced the city's crime rate by 20%. In 2015, we reduced it by an additional 2-3%, and we are on track to reducing crime by an additional 4-5% this year. Violent crimes in the city are down; drug arrests are up compared to years past. Comparing the month of March 2015 to March 2016 shows a reduction in crime of 20%. While the year to date crime rate of 2016 compared to the year to date time frame of 2015 shows that crime is down by 9%. The crime rate has dropped because of a combined effort between the citizens of Marshall and the Marshall Police Department, as we work together to retake our streets with a zero but respectful tolerance based approach.
In 2016 the City of Marshall adopted a strategic plan to ensure a high quality of life for the citizens of Marshall. The number one objective listed in the 2016 strategic plan was to provide high quality public safety to ensure safety and well-being of our citizens. The number one target and performance measure on the strategic plan is to explore and implement methods to increase visibility in neighborhoods and patrol zones. This report shows that the Marshall Police Department has reached if not exceeded those targets and objectives. Rest assured that we will not stop finding ways to keep improving and exceeding the goals to ensure public trust and confidence in the Marshall Police Department.
The Marshall Police Department has established a strong policing philosophy based on a proactive community-based strategy. The current relationship with our community is based on the hard work of every member of the Marshall Police Department and our community. As always the MPD will be true to our motto "Putting our Community First."
Chief of Police