Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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News from the City Manager Sept-Oct 2016

When we see the recent headlines which document mass shootings of police, we tend to think that things have never been this bad. However, today’s headlines mirror those of the late 60’s and early 70’s, when Police Officers across the country became the targets of a high degree of violence in many forms. While these incidents are always horrendously difficult to understand, we are very proud that our own community has stepped forward with a tremendous outpouring of support for the members of the Atascadero Police Department. Residents have placed signs at the APD parking lot, expressing appreciation for the job they do; others have approached our Police Chief out in the community, thanking him for the service of our officers. Tokens of affection have been left at the Police Department, demonstrating the strong support of the community.

The Atascadero Police Department describes their purpose in two simple words, “Do Good”. This seems like a simple thought, but the members of the APD have a deep understanding that their true purpose is to work toward the greater good of our society, even to the detriment of themselves. They also understand that a great relationship with the community must be cultivated and they value the partnerships that have developed with those they serve. This commitment to service is what makes our Police Department a very active participant in making Atascadero a wonderful place to live and work.

From time to time, we do receive complaints about the performance of our officers. The City of Atascadero and the APD take these complaints seriously and make every effort to ensure that we handle every complaint in a professional manner. This task has been much easier with the advent of body worn video cameras. Residents may notice that our officers are now wearing digital cameras, which have become an extremely valuable investigatory tool. APD is an early entrant into this field of technology, recognizing the important value it provides.

Perhaps the biggest advantage to having officers wear cameras has been the ability to effectively review and resolve complaints. One of the first things we now do when receiving a complaint is to check the video of the incident captured by the body camera. In those instances when an officer’s performance was not up to the high standards we expect, we are able to use the video as a training tool to help improve how situations are handled. We’re very happy to report that true instances of poor performance by the officers of the APD are extremely rare. Time and again, video taken during an incident very clearly reveals that our officers are doing exceptional work, day in and day out.

Furthermore, I would like to thank the entire community for helping to keep our town such a great place. While some neighboring communities are seeing large jumps in their crime rates, the City of Atascadero continues to remain a very safe place for all of us to enjoy.

As always, if you have any questions about this or any other topic related to the City, please feel free to contact me at rrickard@atascadero.org.


 

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