MONTE VISTA— The Monte Vista Police Department is giving community members a voice. This is being accomplished through things such as Neighborhood Watch and a monthly meeting with the chief of police known as “Coffee with a Cop.” The first such meeting of 2018 was held on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at Java Dave’s and was hosted by Chief of Police John Rosecrans.
“That’s my goal with these meetings is to give community members a voice and to answer questions. The interest is for transparency. I just really want to make sure that everybody has a voice straight to the police. Being the leader of the organization that’s the plan, and I want to be sure I know what the community needs from us, the opinions, how we can help each other and obviously the goal of the police is to help the community with crime,” said Rosecrans as he introduced himself at the early morning meeting.
Rosecrans also passed out the 9 Peelian Principles. These principles if applied help to restore any tarnishment of the honor of the police force. The goal is to repair the relationship between the police and the public. The nine principles are that the police’s basic mission is to prevent crime and disorder; ability of the police to perform their duties depends on public approval; police need the willing cooperation of the public in obeying laws; the willing cooperation of the public diminishes proportionately the police need to use physical force; police earn public respect not by catering to public or political opinion or self-interest, but by demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law; police should use physical force to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is not sufficient; police should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition the police are the public and the public are the police; the police are members of the public who are paid for duties which every citizen would in the interests of community welfare; police should always work to prevent crime and disorder, and never take the powers of the judiciary and finally the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder.
“The last principle is my goal. I think there’s no better test of our efficiency than the absence of crime and disorder. I know we have a nearly insurmountable task at that because there’s always something. Whatever level the community is accepting is probably more of the realistic goal. The absence of crime is the ultimate goal not how nice our cars or how well we shoot or how much training we get, but how much we are able to affect crime,” he said.
Rosecrans also commended the Neighborhood Watch program. “I think we had a really good meeting a few weeks ago about how Neighborhood Watch understand their role. Again, though, how do we get the community involved and how do we get the community educated. In the next couple of weeks one thing we are doing is everyone is going to turn on their outside lights for safety at night... this is the beginning of something happening. Really it should be everyday 24-7,” said Rosecrans.
The chief explained three ways to affect crime. They are the victim, the offender and the location. “Location is the very easy one to control most of the time. Lights, dogs, vigilance all of that helps protect and reduce crime,” stated Rosecrans.
The chief then took questions from the audience. He said he really wants to be an earpiece for the community and also a voice to the department. Coffee with a Cop will continue to held on the first Wednesday of every month, and the community is invited to join the interesting and informative discussions.
Year in review
Rosecrans also presented the police department’s year-end review and his goals for the next year. He also read the review at the Thursday, Jan. 4 meeting of the Monte Vista City Council.
In 2017 for the 14-man department there were 16,470 calls for service. “That’s pretty impressive. That’s a bit inflated in some areas because of the way record keeping is done. There’s proactive and reactive calls for service. That’s good to know. About 8,000 of those calls for service are initiated by the officers. It’s good to know that they are not completely wall to wall and calls that are reactive there’s a lot of proactive stuff going.”
For 2018 Rosecrans would like to work on a plan to have a more full force. Statistically the police force is down some bodies and some positions are not currently hired.
Rosecrans also said he had to give Finance Director Heather Hixson credit regarding her concerns that she presented to the council. “There were some things in my department that I was shocked we were doing. We’re not doing it anymore but there was some waste,” he said.
There were over 1,239 reports taken in 2017, 14,500 citations given and 671 arrests.
Other goals the chief has for 2018 include revitalizing Neighborhood Watch, reducing property crimes by 25 percent, continuing Coffee With A Cop, increase recruitment and maximize retention, adding another K-9 and active shooter trainings.