Change and Continuity
Over the last decade, policing continues to be defined by news media accounts from all over the country, as well as the movie industry and their ability to sell action oriented movies. Hollywood movies tend to emphasize the excitement they associate with crime fighting and crime related drama because it sells movies and the ratings tend to be high. Most citizens go years without any contact with policing; their assumptions are frequently shaped by these mediums.
The reality is we fulfill our duties primarily in a service oriented environment. The mission statement for the St. Joseph Police Department is “Protection and service through partnership with the community.” The key words in the mission statement are protection, service and partnership. With the challenges facing our community brought on by the pandemic, achieving our mission of protection-service-partnership is important to maintaining quality of life for members of our community.
In cooperation with local mitigation efforts, the police department has made some operational changes. Essential staff continues to remain in place to provide continuity of essential public services, but at the same time have reduced the amount of employee interaction with the public. Even with limiting interaction, we are maintaining and, where able, have increased marked patrol presence. We continue to respond to emergency calls for service and investigate crimes. For calls not in progress where there are no life safety concerns, some reports deemed appropriate are taken by phone and online. When officers respond to your calls for service, they may ask you to step outside to speak them while maintaining distance. The lobby is closed, however, if you need services it is recommended you call. If you have a need for records, you may contact the records division by phone 271-4705 and reports may be disseminated electronically.
Regardless of changes, we must hold on to the most beneficial principles that formed a foundation to provide services. For example, we still respond/react to calls for service and we continue to build partnerships within the community which provide irreplaceable input. We are now looking at other ways to maintain this communication without the face-to-face opportunities to meet. Computer statistics/intelligence is heavily relied upon in identifying problems and assessing response.
As a department, we will continue to improve strategies to communicate to protect and serve, build on our relationships with our community, and adjust to the current environment. We are at our best when we are working with the power of our community and that is why we define our mission with the words Protection - Service - Partnership.