Guyton residents will have a chance soon to find out more about their city’s public safety measures.
Police Chief Randy Alexander is planning another town hall meeting and is working on a date. He’s shooting for a date in May and wants to get the word out as soon as he pins down the meeting time.
“A lot of people don’t know when we have them,” he said.
The city puts notices on the water bills about town hall meeting and puts the notices on the marquee at the town limits. Alexander said they want to hear what the citizens have to say about crime in Guyton and allow residents to meet and get to know his officers.
“We want to hear their concerns on crime,” he said. “We want to know, do they see or meet the officers and hear any suggestions they may have for us to better serve them. If they don’t know who your officers are, they don’t feel a part of the department. If you know who we are and know we’re here, it makes a little more personal.
“I want people to be involved in this department.”
Alexander also has a survey of 15 to 20 questions for Guyton residents to answer. He also discusses the neighborhood watch program and how to make it better.
“What we have is great,” he said. “They give us really good information.”
They also go over the “R U OK” program, where officers conduct checks on people they know may need assistance.
“We’re small enough we can do that,” Alexander said.
The police department will call a house that is on the R U OK list and if there is no answer, an officer will be dispatched to the residence to ensure everything is all right.
“That seems to be working well,” Alexander said.
He also updates residents on any new ordinances and takes suggestions from residents on things to change. One suggestion was to cut down on the number of stop signs in the city. That has had a consequence, however, as there are more drivers speeding.
Alexander said his department is going to be targeting that.
“After a couple of months of us working traffic, people will realize that if they speed, ‘they’ll pull us over and write me a ticket,’” he said.
Alexander will have a copy of the city’s ordinances and the state code book on hand. He said a lot of times residents aren’t aware of what they can or can’t do.
One recent change Alexander may go over are the new titles and responsibilities. The city has redone its policy manual, and the department is now a public safety agency, combining the police and fire departments. The result is a lowered ISO rating, he explained.
“We did a lot of research,” he said. “We have several officers that are certified as firefighters and law enforcement officers. We have people trained to do both. I think it’s a good thing. For a medium or small agency, it’s a good thing.”
Guyton police officers can carry their firefighter gear in their car and since they are often the first to respond to a scene, they can literally put on their other hat right away.
“An officer can get to a trailer fire and get in his gear in three minutes,” Alexander said.
Alexander recalled going to town hall meetings as a child with his father and wondering why he was going along. Now, he sees their role and wants the Guyton citizens to understand, too.
“That town hall meeting is very important to us,” he said.