This week U.S. Attorney Tom Beall spoke at a statewide meeting of police officers, reminding them that law enforcement alone can’t solve all the crime problems in our communities.
“We need to reach out to community leaders, property owners, churches, private businesses and schools — to anyone who is willing to work with us to make the community safer,” he said.
Speaking before more than 100 officers at the Kansas Peace Officers Association’s fall conference in Wichita, Beall also stated, “We need to build our public safety efforts on a foundation of mutual trust and respect between police officers and the communities they serve.”
Reaching out to the community is nothing new for effective police departments. In Great Bend, officers often eat lunch with students at school, and they interact with middle school students at the annual Youth Academies. Recent articles in the Great Bend Tribune have shown individuals in law enforcement talking about their jobs. It’s great to see officers as individuals and not as some faceless force of authority.
Central Kansas also has adopted a new national leadership program called Blue Courage, helping officers see themselves as a vital part of the community, which of course they are.
Beall had a personal message for officers at Wednesday’s meeting: “To all of you who continue to risk your lives day in and day out to keep us safe and protect our freedoms, thank you,” he said. “You have one of the hardest jobs in the world.”
The Blue Courage program reminds officers it’s a two-way street, as all relationships must be. It appears that in Barton County, the lines of communication are open.