MAYPEARL — The Maypearl Police Department has just completed an extreme makeover. The department has transformed a part of city hall that was a garage and storage space into a new area for police officers to work from.
“Three years ago when Chief Shannon Bachman and I started, one of the first things we realized is that we needed to improve the physical facility of the department. Everyone was just working out of two offices. The chief had an office and there was basically another office that was just for all of patrol,” Maypearl Police Chief Kevin Coffey said. “We had a section of city hall that was empty. It was a garage bay. We went to the 4B committee and did some research. We found out that 4B money could be used for the improvement of public safety facilities.”
Coffey said the department received $12,000 from the 4B committee and built a new wing in the garage. The new wing creates spaces for a records room, training room, a squad room for patrol officers, a property room and an interview room. Previously the only space at city hall was an office for the chief and another office with one computer for officers to do their reports.
“We built a 30-man training room and completely furnished it for training. It has a big screen television to be used for PowerPoint presentation. We can start hosting our own classes here. We built a new property room and now have an actual dedicated interview room,” Coffey said. “In the past when officers conducted investigations and had to interview somebody they had to do it in an office, which is not ideal for interviews because there are too many distractions. We wanted a room designed for that purpose with the camera system to record and monitor.”
Donations from other cities and agencies in the area were received by the department to help compete the expansion.
The five desktop computers and two printers for the squad room for patrol officers were donated by the city of Cleburne. A sever was purchased by the department so all the computers could be networked together. The city of Cleburne is providing technical expertise and is setting up the server for the department.
Three laptop computers were obtained through a grant program from Tarleton State University.
“The officers now have laptops in their cars. They can now run their own license plates and driver’s licenses,” Coffey said. “We switched to a new report writing system and the officers can actually do their reports in their car. They don’t have to come up here. It allows them to stay on the street more.”
The department also reached out to the state prison in Venus to see what assistance they could provide. The prisoners crafted a lot of the woodwork; trim pieces and room signs for the new wing. They also crafted several wooden desktops and a large wooden replica of the department’s badge that will be hung on the wall. Coffey also contacted state officials in Austin and had furniture donated such as desks and chairs.
“Morale was hugely improved from when I first got here. Guys were crammed into (one) room. There was no pride. The officers didn’t take any pride in where they worked. Now my officers are proud to work for the city of Maypearl,” Coffey said. “We changed the uniforms and they are more professional looking. We went to a standard regular uniform. We have come a long way in three years. It could not have been done without my predecessor also. We worked together as a team.”
With the improvements made to facilities completed, Coffey has several goals to raise the level of service provided by the department since being appointed its new chief.
The first is to increase the amount of training his officers receive. This will help his officers move up from a basic peace officer to intermediate peace officer certification.
Coffey is looking into getting the department accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. This national accreditation helps to strengthen crime prevention capabilities, formalize essential management procedures, improve relations with the public, increase community and staff confidence in the department and improve interagency cooperation. Coffey is working to develop a mission statement to make the department more organized and focused.
One step he has taken is to improve the department’s operations by retiring its Ford Crown Victoria squad cars. These vehicles are being replaced with brand new Chevrolet Tahoes. One Tahoe was placed into service last year and the next one is expected to arrive at the department in November. It is currently being outfitted for police work.
Inside each police vehicle is a medical bag, defibrillator and oxygen so officers are able to respond to medical calls. They provide this assistance because they are on duty full-time and the fire department is only a volunteer department. This program has been in place for the past year.
“My goal is to make this a model department for this size of town. The goal is to provide the citizens of Maypearl with a professional and modern police department just like any other city,” Coffey said. “ Just because it is Maypearl does not mean it should have any lesser level of service than any other city.”
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