MADISONVILLE, Ky. (2/6/14) ― Chief Wade Williams of the Madisonville Police Department shared updates spanning the last year and what is to come for the department during the weekly Madisonville Lions Club Luncheon Wednesday, Jan. 29.
“So far, this year is looking pretty good,” said Williams. “I like to keep everyone in the know and what the police department is doing out there, what our priorities are and what our goals are.”
Williams said that when he first came into office, he had four major goals he wanted to accomplish.
“When I first started, I wanted to work on reducing our drug issues, reducing our crime, get our accidents under control and build better relationships with the community,” said Williams. “I wanted to take my experiences with working with foreign countries to create relationships with the community. I wanted to show how it can foster over and that people who appreciate or respect their police or military are the ones who are more willing to pay their taxes or abide by the laws. I believe in that and that is what my focus has been.”
Williams said that last year, the 911 center received 91,476 service calls that police responded to.
“That’s a lot of service calls for a 46 man sworn department,” said Williams. “Out of all those calls, we had only three citizen complaints. A lot of departments don’t have that relationship corporation between the citizens and police like we do. We go out of our way to help where we can.”
Williams said that last year, the department had 478 serious crimes, which included rape, murder and robbery.
“Although we haven’t had terrible serious crimes here, we still felt there was some room to improve,” said Williams. “We were able to bring the percentage down to 27 percent from the year before.”
Williams said there is a 63 percent clearance rate on all cases, and the department was able to reduce the amount of stolen property.
“The national average of clearance rate is 34 percent,” said Williams. “We were able to reduce stolen property last year by $175,000, which makes it a 41 percent decrease.”
Madisonville Police Department has recently created an internet crimes against children task force, parterning with the secret service and the Kentucky State Police.
“This is an effort we do to combat people patrolling the internet for child pornography, child molestation and people who try to meet kids,” said Williams. “We actually opened 24 cases and arrested 24 people for them. It’s a big deal. We have sent our men to these trainings and gotten in really good with the secret services. They were able to loan us $50,000 of equipment to be able to work these types of cases. We now have a system that patrols constantly and picks up those hits on people who are doing these things.”
Williams said there were 117 of students getting in trouble in the school systems this past year.
“A lot of times these cases don’t get reported,” said Williams. “And it’s not a reflection on the school system, but it shows the corporations at that level, we want to push that down to our youth. We want good interaction with the kids.”
Williams said his No. 1 goal in Hopkins County is to reduce drug trafficking. The department has also partnered with the Pennyrile Narcotics Task, Kentucky State Police and the DEA.
“Drugs are an unusual factor,” said Williams. “They don’t stop at the city line of Madisonville. Drugs from surrounding places will affect Madisonville. So, we go after it wherever it may be.”
Williams said 102 felony drug cases were opened this past year with a 100 percent conviction rate.
“Our guys do a thorough job with investigating and making sure they had the right people,” said Williams. “They were able to seize $65,000 of illegal drugs off the street last year. In the past two years, it amounts to $250,000 that we have been able to take off the street.”
Williams said so far this year, they have been able to start a new investigation with other federal agencies to crack down on large amounts of methamphetamines.
“We arrested 3,878 people last year and 15 of those were felony arrests,” said Williams. “We also have a large number of accidents. Some of my strategies to reduce the numbers may seem a bit unusual, but we put dummy cars in places and I have officers sitting in parking lots, which helped reduce our accidents by 13 percent and a 3 percent reduction with accidents with injuries. So, these efforts are paying off.”
Williams said the department has been more involved with the community by doing events such as Cram the Car, Bowling for Kid’s Sake and Shop with a Cop.
“Everyone is mandated to do one community project,” said Williams. “It was hard at first to get used to, but now we partner with the community. We now have 10,257 community contacts by handing out cards, introducing themselves and asking community members things they could do to better the community.”
Williams said the department really tries to target the school systems and teach kids how unsafe drug use can be and what can happen if they get involved with them.
“We really use Crime Stoppers now as a tool for communication in finding the most wanted people,” said Williams. “As of 2013, we had 273 tips, which may not seem like a lot, but compared to 2011, we had less than 20 tips, it’s a big difference.”
Williams said this year they are working harder on all the shoplifting that has been going on.
“We are putting those people who have been convicted of shoplifting in the Crime Stoppers,” said Williams. “We hope that will help cut down on that as well by doing so.”
SurfKY News Reporter
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