SIDNEY — The Sidney Police Department completed another year of stability and community support which allowed it to grow locally, but that was not the case nationally in 2016.
“Tensions between law enforcement and citizens rapidly developed across the United States,” said Chief Will Balling. “Nationally there were 130 officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2016. The state of Ohio lost three officers.
“Locally the citizens of Sidney and businesses came out in mass to support us,” said Balling. “There were many combined events which showed our department that the community cared for them and it meant a lot to the Officers and their families. I felt blessed with the outpour of support and the positive interaction that we had throughout the year.”
His report continues:
The Sidney Police Department was recognized by the State of Ohio for their policies and standards by the Ohio Collaboration Board. Gov. Kasich established the Ohio Collaborative to hold departments to a higher standard and to improve community trust in law enforcement. The Sidney Police Department was one of the first five in the State to receive their certification approval (out of over 1,000 agencies). This was due to the department’s (and officers) willingness to do everything they could do to have a professional department with high standards.
The department also added another full time member to our patrol section. Kilo was introduced to the Sidney Police Department in February. Kilo is our newest K-9 and works with Officer Jim Jennings. Both had to receive several weeks of training and hit the ground running. Kilo and Officer Jennings are a very valuable resource against the heroin epidemic.
The Department also received a grant to start a Citizens Patrol Academy. During the fall of 2016 25 students went through a 10 week course to learn about the department and what officers do on a daily basis. The officers also had the opportunity to talk with the students to hear their concerns in the community. It was a very positive class and enjoyable to be part of.
The department continued to strive to exceed the community’s expectations throughout the year. The State mandated that every officer receive at least 11 hours of training for 2017 (for a total of 396 hours). The Sidney Police department conducted over 3,500 hours of training. Most of the training was provided by in-house instructors or at little to no cost to the City. Officers received training on self-defense, defensive driving instruction, legal updates, mental wellness, situational awareness and other training throughout the year. The training is to provide the officers with the skills and knowledge to provide the best service that they can to our community.
One of the main goals for the department for 2017 will be the continued battle against heroin. Too many lives are being lost to this very addictive drug. Ten people lost their lives to a drug overdose. Over 100 people were charged for drug violations which most were heroin related. Our department is committed and will be dedicated to doing anything that we can to reduce this issue in Sidney. We are working with any organization that we can to educate, prevent and also treat individuals that are affected by heroin. While we understand that it is not an easy task, we are committed to our community to reduce this issue.
We will continue to move forward as a department and as a community. We will strive 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.