Did you ever wonder about what resources are available to our Police Department for protecting our town? Well, wonder no more. The most important resources are a well-managed support system and the officers who are dedicated to ensuring our safety. The next most important resource is the equipment available to them for our protection and theirs.
Need an officer in a hurry? Whether you are in the rural part of town, in the woods or in the fields on a farm, they have a way to reach you. There’s the traditional fleet of cruisers (SUVs or small sedans), two snowmobiles and two quads. The snowmobiles and quads are also used for rescue purposes in areas that are not accessible by cruiser. A Humvee is also available for community events such as car shows and National Night Out. It is not active on a regular basis; however, it is sometimes used for rescues and has a tow and winch system that comes in handy. Let’s not forget animal control with a large specialty SUV equipped with traps, snares and other necessary tools of the trade.
Daily patrols are conducted in cruisers also known as their office. All cruisers are equipped with a Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) that is tied to a computer aided dispatch system. It also allows them to connect to an online system for checking licenses and registrations. With 20,330 calls in 2017, it certainly got a lot of use.
Officers receive training in tactical medicine working with the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance Association (SVAA). Since they are often the first on the scene of an emergency, the cruisers are equipped with a medical kit, Narcan kit, oxygen, defibrillator, flares and cones. And, with all these calls and emergencies comes paperwork. Each officer carries a personal bag with him that includes report forms to be completed as needed.
Bad weather got you scraping snow and ice off your car? Thanks to the good working relationship between the Police Department, Fire Department and the SVAA, our police officers can expedite this process. They have the luxury of pulling into one of the garages, quickly hosing their cars down, and getting on the road quickly.
There are 21 sworn uniformed police officers. Each officer is issued the standard equipment such as a uniform, badge, duty firearm, handcuffs, baton, flashlight and portable radio. In addition, all are equipped with Tasers to subdue and arrest using minimal force. They are also issued soft body armor or bullet resistant vests we often call bullet-proof vests, although no vest is truly bullet-proof.
Who else works at the police department you ask? The Suffield Police team includes five (5) Public Safety Dispatchers who “staff the helm” in the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center. These dispatchers answer all routine telephone calls as well as emergency telephone calls made to 9-1-1. Public Safety Dispatchers hold the awesome responsibility of dispatching, via a modern radio center, all police, fire and ambulance units in Suffield to respond to crimes, citizens’ complaints and emergencies.
Two part-time Animal Control Officers (ACOs) work in the police department during adjacent hours to provide day and night time response to all issues involving animal protection, regulation, control and public health and safety as it relates to animal control. You would not believe how busy this function of the police department keeps these two officers! During both 2016 and 2017, ACOs responded to well over 1,000 incidents.
Lastly, all the good work performed by the police department could not occur without the invaluable efforts done by those working behind the scenes. The Records Clerk and the Administrative Assistant to the Chief keep all the paperwork in order and ensure that everything needed to support the work in the field is accomplished. This includes supply acquisition, providing police reports to citizens requesting them, handling all financial matters and any other responsibility you could imagine that takes care of the staff and department operations.
Does anyone volunteer? Yes, Police Cadets are a group of teens ages 12-18 that have an interest in public safety. Currently, there are 10 cadets, all of whom are from Suffield. They attend meetings and participate in police training classes. In addition, they are involved in community activities such as Suffield on the Green and serving food at Loaves and Fishes. Anyone interested in becoming a cadet should contact Officer Kisselbeck at the police station any time.
You may recall that the “new method in town” was for the police to be seen and accessible to town residents. How’s it working you ask? Fantastic! Because of your ability to meet and talk to officers in a relaxed atmosphere, they have been able to address and improve issues relating to the quality of life in neighborhoods and answer questions about information reported in the news. A while ago, there was a spike in the theft of unlocked cars. Thanks to their safety tips on social media and your willingness to share information, they were able to make an arrest. A true example of community policing. While the police continue to do Coffee with a Cop and Chill with a Cop, each of you should continue to Talk with a Cop.