Pro­tect & Serve

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Me­gan Davis McDon­ald County Press [email protected]

A spot­light on first re­spon­ders around McDon­ald County and more.

An­der­son Po­lice De­part­ment has made nu­mer­ous strides in the past year to bet­ter pro­tect and serve the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing foot pa­trols, busi­ness checks and de­part­ment-wide gym mem­ber­ships.

“It’s amaz­ing what you can see, smell, hear and taste on foot that you can’t in a ve­hi­cle,” said Deputy Chris Suther­land, an ad­vo­cate for foot pa­trol. “We’ve walked up on un­der­age par­ties, do­mes­tic dis­putes, you name it.”

While on foot, the de­part­ment also con­ducts busi­ness checks, where deputies shake door han­dles, re­view prop­erty perime­ters for signs of forced en­try and keep an eye out for sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity or prop­erty dam­age. Deputies also pa­trol for break-ins from east to west in res­i­den­tial ar­eas.

Chief Seth Daniels has led the de­part­ment for over a year. Re­cently, he ap­proached the city coun­cil in pur­suit of gym mem­ber­ships for his six full-time of­fi­cers. Mem­ber­ships al­low deputies to main­tain health and stamina as well as train for pos­si­ble one-on-one en­gage­ments.

An­der­son Po­lice De­part­ment also be­gan host­ing re­gional train­ing days in the past year. Dur­ing these ses­sions, lo­cal de­part­ments gather to pur­sue ad­di­tional, ex­tracur­ric­u­lar knowl­edge about top­ics such as high­risk traf­fic stops, de­fen­sive tac­tics and shoot­ing drills. They’ve hosted four ses­sions to date.

These ex­tra ef­forts have not gone un­no­ticed by city of­fi­cials who re­cently ap­proved a 5 per­cent pay raise to all deputies.

“Morale is higher,” said Suther­land. “There’s bet­ter train­ing, bet­ter pay. The first year I was here, we had no ex­tra train­ing.”

The de­part­ment is cur­rently an­tic­i­pat­ing the de­liv­ery of a new pa­trol ve­hi­cle, a Ford Ex­plorer un­der war­ranty. This will help with the deputies’ prime source of com­mu­nity in­ter­ac­tion, which is traf­fic stops. Although cer­tain crimes fluc­tu­ate with the sea­sons.

“Do­mes­tic dis­tur­bances tend to in­crease as the weather cools and peo­ple get ‘cabin fever,’” said Daniels.

An­der­son deputies re­cently ap­pre­hended a sus­pect in a case re­gard­ing the de­struc­tion of a nos­tal­gic, lo­cal land­mark — the an­tique screen at the Flick Theatre on Main Street.

Video record­ings showed a sub­ject un­law­fully en­ter­ing the build­ing through a back door and ef­fec­tively ru­in­ing the beloved screen, cour­tesy of a hu­man-sized hole in the lower cor­ner.

The sub­ject was iden­ti­fied af­ter the Flick shared an im­age from the video on its Face­book page. Over 700 users shared the post be­fore the sub­ject was iden­ti­fied and sub­se­quently in­ter­viewed.

“Face­book is very help­ful, the com­mu­nity is very in­volved,” said Daniels. He noted that Face­book also re­cently helped to track down sub­jects wanted in a lo­cal forgery case to­tal­ing over $8,000.

Daniels would like to see mi­nor ren­o­va­tions in the Po­lice De­part­ment in the com­ing year, specif­i­cally in an at­tempt to or­ga­nize ev­i­dence man­age­ment within the de­part­ment.

ME­GAN DAVIS/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Deputies with the An­der­son Po­lice De­part­ment in­clude A. Miller (left), Chris Suther­land, A. Le­mon, Chief Seth Daniels, M. Wil­let and M. Moore.

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