Bellefontaine’s community policing garners national attention

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – A new focus on community policing has the Bellefontaine Police Department nominated for a national award.

You would be hard pressed to find someone with many complaints in the heart of Logan County.

“Bellefontaine, it’s all right,” said Kermit Knox. “It’s a good town.”

Knox has lived in Bellefontaine for the most part of his life. There is a lot happening in his hometown he is proud to see.

At the top of that list is the Bellefontaine Police Department.

“We want everybody to feel like we’re here to serve them,” said Chief Brandon Standley with the Bellefontaine Police Department. “That’s our job. That’s what we get paid to do and I take it very seriously.”

In the past few years, the department has been focusing on renewing their commitment to that final word in the phrase “protect and serve.”

Part of that process has seen the revival of programs that were cut due to layoffs and budget cuts.

“We’re not waiting for something bad to happen,” said Standley. “We want to build relationship and break down walls and barriers that anyone may have.”

Breaking down those walls meant getting more face time within the community.

Since he took the job as police chief three years ago, Standley said there has been at least three milestone for the department.

One goal was to bring back the D.A.R.E. program to schools. The program was cut in 2004 in the first round of layoffs. Standley said community partnerships have brought the program back to get kids acquainted with the police force.

Another goal of the department has been getting police out of their vehicles and onto the sidewalks. Standley said during budget cuts, there was a thirteen percent drop in calls to police in troubled areas. In order to rebuild the community’s trust, police have gatherings at least six times a summer with food and games.

In 2013, the department also graduated its first ever class from the newly created Citizens Police Academy.

“We’ve been able to break down some barriers in neighborhoods that only see the police riding down the street in a car or when there is trouble,” said Standley.

The renewed services have now gotten the Bellefontaine Police Department nominated for a RISE award. The awards are being given out by PoliceOne.com and TASER.

Standley hopes to know if the department has won by the end of September.

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