Quincy police hold another townhall-style meeting to connect with residents
On Oct. 15, Quincy Chief of Police Kieth Siebert and Officer Jorge Trujillo, as a translator, stood in front of microphones at Faith Community Church, ready to share and listen. It was the fourth townhall meeting the department has held this year. It was also recorded live on Facebook.
The front pews were lined with 16 attendees, with Captain Ryan Green attending to an information station in the back.
The Quincy Police Department carries out its work with the idea of community policing. This means officers make the effort to reach out and connect with the residents, not just enforce the laws. Transparency and accountability are other aspects of community-minded law enforcement, which Siebert believes in.
“We practice procedural justice,” Siebert said during the evening. “According to Wikipedia – and we all know then that it must be true,” he said with a mischievous smile, “it is based on fairness and transparency.”
In procedural justice, all parties have a chance to be heard before the final decision is made.
“If we have to deal with an out-of-control person, we will do that first, but then we talk,” Siebert continued. “We will listen to you – we may not always agree.”
He mentioned the weighty topic immigration is these days.
“It’s all about working with the people in the community,” Siebert said. “If you report a crime, we won’t call ICE,” referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Quincy Police Department is currently working on getting a new officer onboard: the canine kind. It is a slow process of finding the right fit through breeders and then taking a 10-week training course – for the dog and the officers involved.
A canine program is a considerable financial undertaking, as well. It will cost the department at least 15,000 to acquire their new “detective.” The department welcomes donations, which at the moment can be given to the Friends of the Shelter for further processing.
“A canine will help us greatly in fighting the drug epidemic Quincy is having,” Siebert explained.
One of his future plans in order to guide young people toward good options is the Explorer program, which he hopes to launch in 2019 or 2020 as a summer camp.
“It involves ages 18 to 21 and teaches them about criminal justice and the law. We will need professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and farmers, to help us with this,” he said.
After the 45-minute townhall speech, Siebert welcomed questions from the audience. How to do background checks on volunteers was one concern.
“There is a website called WATCH for background checks. We always go to the neighbors, though,” Siebert said. “They know a lot.”
At the end of the evening, Siebert asked for residents’ understanding.
“We respond to the calls and enforce the laws – we don’t make them,” he said.
By Jaana Hatton, For the Post-Register