Boulder City Police Chief Bill Conger emphasized the importance of community policing during his detailed report of the department at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Conger, who was brought on permanently as police chief in September, said the department has made “significant progress” since his report last year. Conger said he spoke with every employee in the department when his transition beganto discuss strengths, weaknesses and enhance communication among staff.
Among the goals Conger laid out was challenging his officers to become more involved with the community. He said he hopes to have a Citizens Academy implemented by March, and a Neighborhood Watch program in full effect by June. He also plans on starting foot patrol and bike patrol in the downtown district, and plans to hire another part-time dispatcher within the next month.
“It will get us back in touch with not only our business community, but our citizens within the community so they know we’re out there to help them,” Conger said. “Community policing was a concept mostly for larger communities. For smaller communities like Boulder City, it’s the norm, and we really need to drive that point home and go forward with that.”
Councilman Rod Woodbury agreed with establishing a stronger police presence in the community.
“If you center everything around community, you’re headed in the right direction,” he said.
Another priority is organizing the department’s evidence vault, such as throwing out a case of beer that had been in there since 1998.
“When I got here, it was in pretty bad shape,” he said. “We had dope that wasn’t locked up; we had guns mixed up with other stuff; and we had over $17,000 in cash in the vault. We had to get that stuff cleaned up.”
Traffic enforcement remains a priority, especially with the start of the new school year less than two weeks away. “No U-turn” signs will be placed at Adams Boulevard on Avenues B and G to keep children safer in high-traffic areas.
“People were doing U-turns with kids in the crosswalk. If they overshot it a little bit, there was a potential to hit the kids,” Conger said.
Councilman Cam Walker said he wants the police department to train crossing guards and develop stronger communication with them when it comes to policing the school zones so everyone is on the same page.
Mayor Roger Tobler said the city needs to find a better way to communicate with the Nevada Transportation Department, especially when it comes to Interstate 11.
Regardless of any upcoming challenges, Conger said the future looks bright for the Boulder City Police Department.
“We had some challenges, but I like to stay positive and stay moving forward,” he said. “It’s tough to look in the rearview mirror and run things while doing that.”
Contact reporter Steven Slivka at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9401. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.