Since being promoted to Chief of Police in April 2020, I have noticed several changes that needed to take place within the police department, most specifically a change in culture within the department.

My goal has been and will continue to be to work on earning the community’s trust. This can be accomplished through engaging our community through transparency and daily non-enforcement contacts. The police work for the community and we have the responsibility of protecting our community and reducing crime but we need a customer service mindset to make this happen. Communication is equally as important as customer service; the police should take the time and update victims of crimes on how their case is progressing. It’s the victims right to know.

One way we have worked on changing the culture of the department has been with the constant training of our officers that the police should never enforce the laws based on their emotions. For example, it is not the job of the police to berate someone for committing a traffic violation nor is it acceptable for an officer to write a ticket based on them being angered. Traffic enforcement needs to be enforced to obtain voluntary compliance with the law.

I believe the police should strive for daily non-enforcement contacts with community members in order to build the level of trust of the police.

In April, I began to implement and train our officers in community policing methods. These methods include police personnel walking through neighborhoods and businesses while speaking with business owners and neighborhood residents. The goal is for the owner and community members to begin to know the officers working in their area. These walks are also for the neighborhood residents and business owners to report activities in the neighborhood that may be able to be solved before a crime is committed. These situations may not constitute criminal activity by itself but left unsolved has the potential to create an opportunity for future crime to occur. The idea is simple; if we can partner with the community and solve a problem before it becomes a criminal matter then we have reduced crime.

Quite simply, I want our officers approachable to community members while removing their emotions and maintaining a customer service approach, partnering with the community to reduce crime.

Please check out our 2020 crime stats on our department’s web page. Also, please find us on various social media such as Facebook and Instagram.

On behalf of the Liberal Police Department, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Bill Cutshall