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GBPD beefing up Special Services Team
Plans for June Jaunt evolving; ideas to help Great Bend thrive sought
Great Bend Police Office

 The Great Bend Police Department is currently taking steps to increase the effectiveness of its Special Services Team, Police Chief Cliff Couch said. 

“We recently held tryouts and brought on several new members to fill open vacancies,” he said. Last week, the entire team (including the new officers) attended a Basic SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) School at the Crisis City training facility near Salina. 

“This provided the team with valuable bonding time and a basic common set of tactics to use in high risk law enforcement situations,” Couch said. The school was funded by a Homeland Security grant, so that room, board, and tuition were all free to the city. 

On a related note, the Great Bend Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services are working with the police department for future training by SWAT team members. This will help Fire Department understand their need for EMS during and event. 

This information was part of City Administrator Howard Partington’s departmental update given during the Monday night City Council meeting. Other highlights included:


• Couch attended Barton County Community College’s Career Day.

• Couch, detective Lt. David Bailey, and detective Heather Smith attended a Human Trafficking Task Force meeting. This group of local stakeholders is working toward developing plans to deal with human trafficking in our area. 

“However, it is important to note that despite all the publicity surrounding the subject right now, local law enforcement has not seen a significant amount of arrests or even intelligence to indicate such activity in our area,” Partington said. “As with any crime, the Police Department encourages anyone who has any information about this type of activity to contact us.” 

• On Feb. 23, Couch and Sgt. Jay Bachar attended a lecture by Justice Caleb Stegall at Sterling College. This is part of the Department’s effort to establish better relationships with various colleges to improve our recruitment capabilities.

• The Golden Belt Community Foundation is putting the finishing touches on the Great Bend Police video. This is part of a project, funded by an anonymous donor who wants to help improve local perception toward law enforcement. The video features various officers discussing why they choose to be police officers. The video will be distributed locally and eventually featured on the Police Department’s webpage.

Public Works

• Color coded fire hydrants needed repainted throughout the city.

• Contracted with Concrete Service to repair collapsed catch basin at 10th and Washington, collapsed storm box on the southeast corner of 18th and Kansas and large hole in concrete storm box at the alley on 18th between Kansas and Baker. 

• Sanitarian: 71 year to date complaints, 24 new complaints (nine by citizens and 15 by staff), 12 complaints completed by citizens, four abatement notices sent, one abatement performed and one car brought into compliance.

Fire/EMS/Inspection/Code Enforcement

• Held annual testing for firefighter IV position. This testing creates an eligibility list in case there is an opening. 

• Hosted the Barton County fire chiefs quarterly meeting.

• Capt. Luke McCormick and FF IV Michael Reifschneider gave a presentation to a high school group discussing careers as a Firefighter or emergency medical technician.

• City Inspector Lee Schneider issued a certificate of occupancy for the Holiday Inn Express.

• Chief Mike Napolitano and Public Works Director Charlie Sucky meet with the ISO representative to review our past audit. It was a very informative meeting on what we can do to improve our rating.


• The city had a server go down a couple of weeks ago. The backup external backup also failed (hard drive failed during the backup). Officials shipped the drives to Secure Data and they were able to recover all the data and the city is up and running with a new server and no data loss.

The city currently has two levels of backups and is exploring setting up a remote back up to the cloud as a third layer of protection.

• Continuing to add events and activities to the 2016 June Jaunt Festival.

• Community Coordinator Christina Hayes is working with the Community Team Meeting to gather information on what are some things to change or create for Great Bend to thrive. This will help an action plan be created to move forward the retail world and Great Bend overall.

• Introduced the new Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Emily Goad. Goad has worked a full week and getting her feet wet with different ways to help Great Bend. Emily will not be attending City Council meetings each month, but Christina & Allene will keep council updated on happenings and she will come for special announcements.

• Hayes and Goad attended the Big Rural Brainstorm meeting Monday in Newton, gathering ideas on how to make Rural Kansas communities do big things for small towns.

• Natural gas service is being installed at Amber Meadows RHID Phase I currently.

• The ribbon cutting for Amber Meadows RHID Phase I is at 4 p.m. this Wednesday at the site of one of the homes in the subdivision.