Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards says his staff works hard to provide the best level of service to the community it serves.
Each year, the Clinton Police Department collects and analyzes data throughout the year to monitor the department’s performance. Once gathered, the information is compiled into a report and presented to the City’s Council members.
Based on 2018’s data, Edwards said there has been a reduction in crime, as well as an overall improvement in quality of life for the citizens of Clinton. While officers have worked hard to reduce crime, the chief feels they have been proactive in working closely with the community.
According to Edwards, in 2018, a total of 48 violent crimes were reported, as compared to 69 in 2017. The department has seen a 30 percent reduction in the total number of violent crimes.
“This reduction in violent crime showed the true dedication of the officers of the Clinton Police Department,” Edwards said. “Not only did the officers exemplify the core values of the department, but they exceeded expectations in proactive enforcement and community relation projects.”
The driving factors in reducing crime, according to Edwards, are intelligence led policing, proactive enforcement, crime analysis and citizen tips. The police department utilizes crime analysis to drive the daily operations of the officers. Monthly statistical data on crime is provided to all employees and the supervisors use the information to direct teams to target particular problems.
For 2019, Edwards said the department has implemented a crime mapping tool and analysis program that will assist in monthly analysis and resource direction.
“This program incorporates crime mapping by pulling data directly from our reporting system,” Edwards explained. “We get a live depiction on the crime map of where crime is occurring.”
Clinton’s officers also rely on the citizens through the TIP411 anonymous reporting system.
“The messaging system for TIP411 continues to be popular for submitting tips for Clinton and surrounding areas,” Edwards said. “Phone applications give the tipster the option to submit photographs with the tips they submit and gives officers the ability to text back with the tipster without fear of them being identified.”
Since becoming chief, Edwards said he has encouraged his officers to be available to the community. The agency continues to build upon the mutual respect and trust the department has with the citizens.
According to Edwards, the Clinton Police Department provides adequate training for its officers. Even though they are only mandated to receive 24 hours of in-service training, Edwards said his officers were provided with an average of 80 hours.
“We have found that supplementing online training for those classes that don’t require hands-on applications holds our overtime costs to a minimum,” Edwards explained. “We will continue to utilize the North Carolina Justice Academy training portal to meet these needs.”
The department continues to train in the area of active shooter drills. Working closely with schools in the city, training has been conducted through various scenarios. Additional active shooter trainings are scheduled for this year.
Community policing is very important to Edwards and his staff. In 2018, Edwards said the department expanded the number of community partnerships and involvement with the public and participated in more than 40 community events.
Some of these events include safety talks at schools, involvement through the recreation department, helping at Head Start, participating in the Right Path Club and hosting National Night Out.
“Every employee is more engaged with the community and this allows the department to work collaboratively to address neighborhood concerns,” Edwards said. “Members throughout the agency are involved in programs and professional organizations that improve the agency’s resources and information sharing so we are able to continue providing services at the highest possible level.”
According to Edwards, the Clinton Police Department will continue to work to insure the quality of employee development is a key focus and make sure the staff provides the best level of service to the community.
“This commitment to excellence will require input from all stakeholders, so the department will remain open to all feedback,” Edwards added. “Hosting and participating in community activities will keep the department in touch with the citizens and provide opportunities for one on one exchange of ideas.”
Copy Editor Kristy D. Carter can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588.