The Oakdale Police Department has a proven record of providing superior services to the community by blending professionalism and compassion. The Department’s Mission Statement is “Working to protect and safeguard those we serve.” Now that Oakdale’s population has grown beyond 20,000, the men and women of the Oakdale Police Department continue to work even harder to fulfill this mission.
One of our main vehicles for fulfilling our mission is through community-oriented policing partnerships. This concept is not a new one to us, and our department has been working hard this year through a number of community partnerships such as Neighborhood Watch groups, obtaining grants and CAPS Volunteers.
The Oakdale Police Department has the best Neighborhood Watch Program in the county. With the support of the Mayor and Council Members, the Police Department created a partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department to better utilize the Neighborhood Watch Program in meeting the safety expectations of our residents.
Currently, Brea DeRespini, Community Volunteer Coordinator, heads this program. Chief West, Brea and I meet regularly to plan upcoming events and meetings. Officers are encouraged to attend meetings and community events. Officers also regularly attend safety fairs at the schools. Most recently members of the community have seen officers providing crossing-guard duties at three locations along F Street. The main reason for this was the lack of general fund monies in this year’s budget, but officers have reported that this temporary duty has provided them with a new perspective on the dangers students have to face each day as they cross the highway.
Another partnership is the graffiti abatement program: “Team-up Against Graffiti” (TAG). The goal of this program is to locate, document, and remove graffiti as quickly as possible. On Saturday, Jan. 31, staff from the Parks and Recreation Department, Fire Department, Police Department and 40 community volunteers came together to remove 160 incidents of graffiti from public and private property throughout the City.
The annual National Night Out Celebration is another partnership. Former Mayor Pat Kuhn started this event in Oakdale. National Night Out will be celebrating its eighth year in 2010. This year’s event was the most successful ever, due to the support of Mayor Jackson, Chief West, and Brea DeRespini. The concept of National Night Out is simple — to bring the community and law enforcement together to battle crime.
Another important partnership Oakdale Police Department has is with our CAPS volunteers. This group puts in thousands of hours each year to help provide a safe community for us all to live in.
One area of the CAPS focus is the Senior Visitation Program. CAPS volunteers visit many seniors throughout Oakdale. They provide food, friendship, and assistance. CAPS volunteers can be recognized by their distinctive white shirts and their willingness to help. In addition to the Senior Outreach programs, their duties include providing traffic control, crime scene security, and delivering paperwork to other agencies. CAPS usually participate in community events. This year the CAPS coordinator, Bob Neatherly, received the “Karen Siemsen Volunteer Coordinator of the Year” award. As a community, we should be proud of the many hours our CAPS devote to helping make Oakdale a safer community.
A second area of community partnership is the acquisition of grants. This year the Police Department obtained funding from the Redevelopment Agency to address blight, graffiti, and gang activity in the redevelopment area. This additional funding allows the police to address these concerns and make our redevelopment area more attractive to new and established businesses. All community members benefit from this initiative, which is providing funds for extra patrols and a state-of-the-art surveillance camera system.
Another grant was obtained through a partnership with the Oakdale Joint Unified School District and is managed by Lieutenant Jenkins. This grant provides security cameras in all of our schools within the district and allows Oakdale Police Department dispatchers the ability to monitor these cameras. This will provide a better-coordinated response by patrol officers, making our campuses safer.
The buzzword in law enforcement today is community-oriented policing. Here in Oakdale, the Oakdale Police Department has been working toward this goal for many years, and with the community’s continued support, the Oakdale Police Department will continue to strive to make this a reality.
Cop Corner is a monthly column provided by officers of the Oakdale Police Department, offering a variety of information and safety tips.