DSC04394 Public safety is an important part of the services that a city provides. In Blue Springs we are fortunate to have a great police department whose members care deeply about the safety of our citizens. Early in my service as a council member, the mayor suggested I participate in several ride-along opportunities to learn more about how our officers serve our community.

Riding with a police officer during a shift was an eye-opening experience. When we weren’t responding to calls, we were traveling through the neighborhoods looking for anything that was out of place or might indicate a problem.

Our first call for help came relatively quickly, a domestic violence complaint. When we arrived, with the officer’s permission, I stepped out of the car and immediately heard someone call out my name. One of the witnesses happened to be a customer of mine. Imagine my surprise that I would know someone at the scene of the incident. The officer handled the situation professionally and compassionately, and we returned to patrolling the neighborhoods. I was impressed with how many neighborhoods could be covered by a single officer on a shift.

The city now has a Citizens’ Police Academy that gives each of us the opportunity to learn more about our Police Department. Experiencing how they protect us will enable our citizens to be more effective in working with our police to prevent crime. Wanda and I have signed up for the next available academy class. There is a waiting list for September; if no spots open up, we will be participating next January.

At Mayor Ross’ urging, most of our City Council members have already participated or signed up for a class. I want to compliment Council Members Reed, Shaver, Lauer and Edmondson for responding to the mayor’s call to participate in the academy, as well as the mayor and his wife. Hopefully the remainder of the council will participate soon as well. Our police deserve the active involvement of our elected leaders. The Citizens Academy is a great way to show support, improve communication and increase understanding of the department’s needs in the future.

I would encourage each of you to participate in the academy as well.  By learning more about how our police department functions and provides protection for each of us, we can help them keep our city a safe place to live, work, and raise our families!