Submitted by Eric S. Hermick, Assistant Chief of Police
The Chippewa Township Police Department is quickly transforming into a Professional, Proactive and Progressive Policing agency. Over the last year, the Chippewa Police Department has undergone significant improvements that have enhanced our capabilities and the way we provide service to our community. The posture and efforts of the police department have shifted from reactive to proactive. We placed more emphasis on prevention of criminal acts and injury related events through proactive policing. We also recognized that every criminal act or tragedy cannot be prevented, and that no community is immune from a critical incident. To ensure our readiness and abilities to respond and minimize the impact of such events, our officers are continually undergoing realistic type force on force training using simunition weapons along with firearm proficiency courses. The department continues to partner with the Blackhawk School District Administration and staff to enhance school safety. This partnership includes routine training with school administration and personnel in and on the (3) school campuses. Working with the school has afforded the officers more exposure of the school campuses and internal layouts of the buildings. The trainings have also allowed us to identify and correct problematic areas before an incident has occurred. This relationship and training have built confidence through knowledge of roles and capabilities, therefore minimizing confusion should a major event occur.
In addition to practical training, officers have been provided modern technology and upgraded equipment to aid in their assignments. For example, the township purchased and had Automated License Plate Reader cameras installed at various locations within the township. These cameras were activated in July 2019, and within 1 month they provided sufficient information to solve several crimes. People operating stolen vehicles were apprehended, theft case solved, hit and run vehicles were identified, etc. These high tech cameras are proving to be very valuable. They are providing investigative and evidentiary information to solve incidents, traffic offenses, and they serve as a deterrent toward criminal activity. Our camera system is interfaced with other communities and counties that are able to share information and video evidence, which has rendered more apprehensions across Pennsylvania.
From a statistical standpoint, we are trending in a positive direction. We are removing dangerous and/or aggressive motorists from the highways BEFORE they crash and cause injury, death or property damage. Motorists are slowing down and driving more prudent due to high visibility of traffic monitoring and enforcement. The newly acquired training, experience and utilization of new resources has yielded a higher solvability rate of crimes. The department now has greater law enforcement capabilities and provides outstanding customer service to our residents and those traveling or visiting. Criminal arrests are up 39% due to better investigative techniques and resource utilization. Proactive traffic enforcement has dramatically improved highway and roadway safety. The removal and arrests of motorists under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol has increased by 126%. Proactive traffic enforcement has yielded a 118% increase in Traffic Citations and 831 % increase in written warnings. These efforts have reduced reportable and injury/fatal related vehicle crashes by more than 20%.
It is paramount that we continue to improve our individual and collective capabilities so we can continue to serve and protect our community. It is our goal to work more closely with our community and residents so we have a stronger understanding of their needs and expectations.
It is imperative that we continue to trend in the right direction as it relates to statistically measured outcomes that ensure public safety. We have secured additional grants to augment our proactive enforcement efforts without burdening the budget. Current and future secured grants include more Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Program funding, Child Passenger Seat Enforcement funding, Buckle Up Pennsylvania funding and Impaired Driving Enforcement funding. In addition to utilizing these grants, we will continue high visibility patrols to deter crime and strengthen our infrastructure security and business relationships, while soliciting community input.