Madisonville Police Chief and Mayor participate in AAC Forum | Local News
Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton and Police Chief Steve Bryan spent Thursday evening providing updates and answering questions at the Hopkins County African American Coalition Community Forum.
Bryan spoke about the ministry’s response to the request at a previous community forum for more community engagement, saying there had been more foot and bike patrols in neighborhoods.
Bryan said that since September 2020, the department has carried out 574 foot patrol details which are recorded every time they go out.
“One of the reasons we wanted to do it is that they would be face to face with people who are there,” Bryan said.
Bryan said bike patrol training started in the spring, adding that there are now more than 10 officers trained for this type of patrol.
The police chief also touched on what is being done regarding reports of pattern calls such as suspicious behavior in different neighborhoods.
“We’re going to do what’s called extra patrol details and since September we have done 3,066 extra patrol details,” he said.
Bryan said work continued to get drugs off the streets, saying most of the crimes were drug related.
Over the past few months, the MPD has been involved in several arrests involving fentanyl, which Brayn has called a “very dangerous drug”.
“We have taken away what we believe are the top Fentanyl resellers within our community over the past few weeks,” he said. “There is always someone to take his place. “
Cotton spoke of the success of a growing economy in Madisonville and the incomes of more people coming to the area.
“This is in part because we have a low cost of living here and overall our quality of life has improved,” he said. “Jobs are increasing… several businesses have grown. “
Cotton also spoke about the Fourth Fest event which brought together around 20,000 people in Madisonville City Park for a three-day music event, which was also the city’s first major event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. in 2020.
He said he had met many people from out of state and that visitors were in awe of the community.
“What they found here was a community that loved each other and was welcoming in every way,” he said.
The two leaders then responded to questions that the coalition had received and some of the audience present.
Bryan was asked about how the police department was working to improve community relations.
He said COVID-19 hampered the awareness the department planned to do, but said there had been recent events the department held, including a football skills camp that took place there. a few weekends.
“It put our officers over there without a uniform,” Bryan said.
The department also participated in the fundraiser for Hopkins Happy Feet and raised $ 1,385 through its No Shave November campaign, according to Bryan.
Bryan was then asked about diversity training for officers, which he said the state mandated implicit violence training last year and the entire department took.
He added that although the ministry does nothing in particular of the sort, officers are trained in how to interact with the public.
These courses are udo and another is Crisis Intervention Training, which teaches how to work with people with mental illness. Both programs teach verbal de-escalation, according to Bryan.
“If we can put them down and diffuse the situations instead of having to exercise, which is sometimes necessary, but whenever we can prevent that and bring them down first, that’s the goal. of this training, ”he said. “It’s not necessarily for the African American community, but for everyone. We just want to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible. “
One of the last questions Bryan answered was the block party shooting on August 30, 2020 at the intersection of Elm Street and Pride Avenue where five people were shot.
“So far, no one has been arrested,” he said. “We are still actively working on this matter. “
Byran said that since the shooting, a partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in a program called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network has been established, and he hopes this program will help resolve the case.
The NIBIN is a national gun database to determine whether guns used in crimes here have been used elsewhere in the country.
Cotton was asked about the upkeep and safety of Teague Cemetery on West Broadway Street.
Residents at the meeting said people were entering the cemetery at night and alleged crimes were ongoing.
They also said that maintenance was not performed regularly and some suggested that a door in the front was needed to keep people out at night.
Cotton said that because the cemetery is privately owned, there is little the town itself can do.
He said there had been previous discussions about donating the cemetery to the city, but added that he did not expect the city to take ownership.
Cotton said there were around 270 graves at the cemetery, and said the cemetery had been cleared several times in the past by different groups but had not been maintained.
He suggested that the success of the maintenance of the cemetery should come from an organization or a church to take care of the maintenance.
After further discussion, those in attendance who worked on the maintenance and restoration of the cemetery decided to start planning a meeting with local church leaders to discuss the possibility of a maintenance schedule. .
Bryan said he would increase patrols in the area, but added that officers would not drive into the cemetery unless a call for a crime inside the cemetery is made.
Cotton was also asked about diversity in city government and received a census statistic indicating that Madisonville had a population of 11.8% African Americans.
He informed the forum that the city’s employee diversification is just 11%.
Madisonville’s director of human resources, Lynn Owens, said the city had taken an active approach to “making sure our positions are posted,” adding that when he started his position, jobs were only posted. ‘internally.
“Our goal is to continue to lobby and make sure churches serve our African American talents so they can know when these postings are increasing,” Owens said.
Cotton said all job postings are sent to Indeed, Monster, the city’s social media pages and the city’s website.