SIDNEY — 2017 proved to be another strong year for the Sidney Police Department.
“In addition to consistently striving to meet the department’s core values (Professionalism, Integrity, Courage and Compassion) the department was also privileged to receive a tremendous amount of support from the community following a difficult and tragic 2016 for law enforcement nationwide,” said Police Chief William Balling.
His report continues:
Following a record year for calls for service, the department continues to grow and was fortunate to add three officers. Officers Brad Anderson, Rachel Croskrey and Brandon Heindl were hired and began the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in late summer of 2017 with a graduation date of January 2018. The department looks forward to the addition of new personnel.
In recent years law enforcement nationwide received increased strong criticism due to a number of complaints of unreasonable police violence. With an eye on accountability for both personnel as well as the public, the department implemented a new BWC (body worn camera) program for patrol officers and detectives. The body worn cameras are utilized by all sworn personnel during primary functions of the job, ie traffic stops, responding to calls for service, field interviews etc. The BWC also interfaces seamlessly with the police cruiser camera system providing a constant real-time perspective of police work.
Continuing education remains a priority within the Sidney Police Department as personnel completed over 3,500 hours of voluntary training. State mandated training also increased from 11 hours to 20 hours with a combination of internet-based classes and live classroom time. 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 2017, the Citizens Academy Program (renewed in 2016), a Teen Law Enforcement workshop, a Safety Town program for children and the R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) Program. The Citizens Academy, which graduated approximately 50 people, offers residents an opportunity to experience law enforcement first hand with ride-alongs, classroom training and other aspects of the profession. Safety Town is a program designed to help reinforce basic safety rules for early school age children who are beginning to leave their household for the first time. R.A.D. 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 felony cases presented to grand jury increased in 2017, both number of individuals as well as the number of drug charges, showing the commitment to enforcement of drug laws by the Sidney Police Department. The amount of education and assistance has increased as well with over a dozen presentations on drug use/abuse completed in 2017. The department also made contact with nearly 150 individuals to assist with treatment along with the SAAT (Sidney Addict Assistance Team) spending a significant amount of time working within the community to educate, prevent and treat those afflicted by this epidemic.
In conclusion, the Sidney Police Department looks forward to 2018 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.