Sidney Police meet challenges, overcome obstacles in 2019



SIDNEY — “It is the vision of the Sidney Police Department to exceed the expectations of our community, to adapt to the ever changing challenges and to provide the highest level of service and protection to our citizens,” said Chief William Balling. “During the year in 2019 our department met many challenges and I am proud of how we overcame the obstacles and believe that we are a better department today for it.”

His report continues:

We were able to locate and hire a new officer and a full time telecommunicator. We welcomed Jim Luana as our newest officer and Abigail Goins as our new telecommunicator. They bring with them a passion for the job and a desire to help people. We were also able to bring Reserve Officer Mike McRill back in a part time basis to help with our quick response team.

Continuing education remains a priority within the Sidney Police Department as personnel completed over 3,000 hours of voluntary training. While the state did not require any mandated training this year we understand that one of the best ways to keep our officers safe and meet our vision statement is to have a highly skilled and trained staff. Training includes a broad range of topics such as defensive tactics, firearms, tactical response, vehicle operation and legal updates.

The department was fortunate to continue several unique programs in 2019: the Citizens Academy Program, a Teen Law Enforcement workshop, a Safety Town program for children and the RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) Program.

The Citizens Academy offers residents an opportunity to experience law enforcement first hand with a ride-along, classroom training and other aspects of the profession.

The Teen Law Enforcement workshop offers high school students an opportunity to spend three days at the department in which they learn about what our officers do. It also allows them the opportunity to ride with an officer.

The Safety Town program is designed to help reinforce basic safety rules for early school age children who are beginning to leave their household for the first time.

RAD is a self-defense program designed to assist female participants in understanding how to defend themselves in the event of a physical attack.

The heroin/opioid crisis continues to be a focal point of not only enforcement but treatment/assistance as well. The number of overdoses fell in 2019, but our department is still committed to do everything that we can to reduce those addicted to all types of illegal drugs. We continued to actively investigate all reports of drug abuse and prosecute those selling/possessing illegal drugs. Our department along with the SAAT (Sidney Addict Assistance Team) made contact with over 100 individuals to assist with treatment. The SAAT team works within the community to educate prevent and treat those afflicted by this epidemic. On Dec. 19, 2019, they had their first community Remembrance and Recovery event.

In 2019 Officer Jon Hofmann was selected as the officer of the year. While well deserving, all the officers, dispatchers and support staff work hard also throughout the year and deserve to be recognized also.

In conclusion, the Sidney Police Department looks forward to 2020 as another year of working with and for the citizens of Sidney. We will continue to facilitate a strong relationship with businesses and residents alike by maintaining our core values and being committed to providing the highest possible level of service.