2011 marked year of progress for Parrish police
by W. Brian Hale
Dec 30, 2011 | 1909 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Parrish Police Department experienced a year of growth and improvement through many of its efforts to strengthen its ties to the community and serve the public more effectively.

Police Chief Nick Smith was recognized at the winter chief’s conference in Montgomery and received an award for completing his level two certification in the Alabama Chief’s Association. He also received certificates for completing the Leadership Walker County program and the Fundamentals of Local Planning program — finishing classes from the University of North Alabama to become a certified zoning and planning official.

A member of the force also received an award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for taking extra steps in law enforcement against intoxicated drivers. The department was also honored by the Case Knife Outlet at its annual knife show for being Home Town Heroes, in which each officer was presented with a knife by owner Mike Earnest.

In its effort to educate their community, the department started its Citizens Public Safety Academy held in spring and fall sessions that saw a total of 24 citizens graduate. T-shirts were designed and distributed for all of the members of the Parrish Neighborhood Watch program. The police also teamed with MADD to hold its first ever Victims Impact Panel for individuals convicted of driving under the influence.

Improvements to the police force’s ability to serve the town also saw many key accomplishments. The department sent a recruit to the police academy and purchased a 2009 Chevy Impala with proceeds from its drug forfeiture fund. It added warrant entry to the NCIC database and in 16 weeks, cleared 75 outstanding warrants and collected $26, 563 in fines. The department received three grants from Jefferson State College and ADECA totaling $2,900 for police overtime traffic enforcement.

Community relations was an area that the department heavily concentrated on, beginning several initiatives to form stronger bonds with Parrish residents. The second year of the walk/knock/talk program — where officers met with members of the community and obtained their opinions on how the department was performing — was held. Monthly news letters were issued to inform citizens on what was happening in their community. The department participated in the WCCAA summer basketball program for its third year and took local youth for a night of bowling as part of its Officer Friendly program — intended to help citizens get to better know the police force. Officers were also equipped with gift bags in their patrol cars during the holiday season to be distributed to citizens as part of the Officer Friendly program.

The department managed to maintain a low crime rate in violent crimes and reported thefts even through the tough economic times. The police force made 205 arrests as of December, with 73 arrests being drug-related and 17 involving driving under the influence. Operation Summer Heat was held for its fourth year in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Service to take felony warrant suspects into custody and the department seized two vehicles from alleged drugs dealers.

In an effort to prevent crimes from occurring, the department started a business check program, where officers walked into businesses and signed a log sheet showing when their presence took place — resulting in a combined 3,699 check-ins. The department also started its vacation/business watch program to keep vigilant in the absence of the property’s owners.

“Our goal for 2012 is to continue our efforts to decrease crime in our community and to enhance the lives of the citizens of Parrish,” Smith said.