A fascinating era is about to end at the Amarillo Police Department.
A longtime Amarillo cop, Police Chief Robert Taylor, is about to retire. He says he’ll climb aboard his Harley and hit the road with his wife. I wish him well and thank him for his service to the community.
Taylor spent 30-plus years vowing to protect and serve the residents of the city and he did it well.
We’ve got a new top cop in town: Ed Drain, a deputy chief with the Plano Police Department, who’s come aboard to serve as interim chief.
Are there more changes afoot for the PD? Maybe.
The city has enacting a series of action plans that likely will involve some administrative changes and strategies the police department employs to enforce the laws.
I’d like to offer one idea for the men and women in blue to consider: bring back the bicycle patrols.
Officers used to patrol many neighborhoods on bikes. The effort was aimed at instilling the principle of “community policing,” allowing officers more personal contact with the residents they serve. It allowed them to build relationships in the neighborhoods they were assigned to protect.
I’ve always rather liked the idea of emphasizing community policing as a concept that builds bridges between the police and those they serve.w
The bike patrols ended during Taylor’s time as chief of police.
I’ve spoken over the years to some of my friends within the department about the bike patrols. They contend that while the patrols worked well, the PD is continuing its outreach with patrols involving police cruisers.
I get it. But the idea is now out there.
My police friends now how much I admire and respect them for the work they do. I’ve had the privilege of attending the Citizens Police Academy that the department puts on every year; its aim is to acquaint laypeople with many of the different aspects of police work and to give residents a tiny taste of what it takes to become a police officer.
Yes, it’s a public-relations tool intended to strength police-community relationships. It also is a worthwhile effort to give residents a peek into the rigors of what can be very dangerous and life-threatening work.
The new police chief is going to take over a police department in good condition, just as it was in good condition when Chief Taylor took over from Jerry Neal.
The city has been embarking on a lot of change lately. I’m all for it … but only if it’s necessary.
There. You’ve got one idea for change to ponder.
Keep up the great work, ladies and gentlemen of law enforcement.
Thanks again for your service to the community.