Great Bend police officer Jefferson Davis and Sgt. Jason Settle recently completed a comprehensive safety and security evaluation of the Police Department building, City Administrator Howard Partington reported to the city council Monday night.
“We are moving forward on various changes as a result of this study,” he said. The department also does these types of evaluations for local businesses and organizations, as part of its mission to make Great Bend a safer place.
This comes to the fore with frequent reports of mass shootings and other acts of violence., “In this day and age, this is a big deal,” Partington said.
This report was part of Partington’s departmental update. Other topics included:
• “StarChase” (the company who manufactures the vehicle pursuit trackers the department is purchasing) is currently in town. They will be installing the two units the council authorized, as well as conducting training over the next few days.
This is a system that launches a tracking device on to a fleeing vehicle so it can be followed.
• Chief Cliff Couch and Captain Bob Robinson helped out with the America’s Promise shopping spree on Friday. This is an event where America’s Promise lets kids in the program shop for Christmas presents with a mentor.
• On Saturday, various members of the department participated in the Fraternal Order of Police Shop with a Cop program. This is a program that the FOP does each year, in which underprivileged children from the Barton County area are paired up with an area law enforcement officer and gets to shop for Christmas presents for themselves and their family. “The Police Department is proud that our employees choose to fund this activity out of their own pockets and participate on their own time to give area children a better Christmas,” Partington said.
• The department has been very busy lately, working a variety of cases. These have included things such as a recent homicide (Nov. 15) and an armed robbery at a local convenience store (this past weekend).
• Finished concrete work for the Great Bend Recreation Commission’s Activity Center.
• Salted and sanded streets due to ice storm over Thanksgiving.
• Sanitarian: 722 year to date complaints, 18 new complaints (10 by citizens and eight by staff), 19 complaints completed by citizens, three abatement notices sent and three vehicles where brought into compliance.
• Held annual awards banquet where Fire Fighter Tony Leeds was awarded Fire Fighter of the Year.
• Inspector Mark Orth participated in the America’s Promise program.
• The department met with three vendors for research on new air packs for next year.
• Explore Great Bend month was a great success, Community Coordinator Christina Hayes reported. Even with the bad weather over the last weekend, overall stores are happy and excited to participate in the promotion again next year.
The Holiday Parade and festivities were cancelled Thanksgiving weekend. “We have heard lots of citizens share in the disappointment and understanding,” Hayes said. “However, surrounding communities have shared their appreciation of us not rescheduling over their events” that might have happened if the parade had been moved.
Hayes said there are still a lot of fun and festive activities happening in Great Bend this Holiday Season. “Don’t forget to get out and Explore Great Bend and support the businesses that choose our beautiful city year round.”
• The water utility office ordered new hand held meter reading recorders as we have been having trouble with the old ones. We had to estimate about 2,600 customer service reads for the most recent time period. The units cost $5,000 each.
• Venture Corporation hopes to wind up their street resurfacing this week with the good weather.