Last October the Opelika Police Department launched TOGETHER, OPELIKA a campaign geared to build trust and relationships between the citizens of Opelika and the Opelika Police Department.
One of the main goals was to lower crime and increase community engagement. Since the start of the campaign, there has been a decrease in robberies and thefts compared to the previous year and an increase in the community’s involvement with crime prevention and assistance in solving crimes.
“Our department has attended over 75 Community Events and Meetings since October of 2020,” says Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey. “We have been developing new ways to engage and educate citizens and through our increased participation within the community we have started to see trust build for our officers.”
One way OPD has increased community engagement is through their partnership with Critical Insights Consulting, LLC who helped to facilitate Community Engagement and Policing Leadership Workshops with the Police Department employees and members of the community. These workshops are centered around effective communication, behavioral attributes, critical thinking and relationship building. This resource will also be utilized within our hiring process through placement, training and evaluations. The department is optimizing every tool at their disposal in order to have a more accurate accountability for officer training and development. So far OPD officers have conducted over 4,000 hours of training in 2021 and hope to quadruple the training hours required by the state.
Critical Insights Consulting also organized and facilitated several community meetings which helped to develop a model that can be used to better serve our community. Through these meetings three areas were identified that were important to citizens regarding the police:
- Better relationship building
- Stronger trust
The Ambassadors of Change Council, which consists of multiple organizations and community advocates, was formed as a way for everyone to come together to collaborate and coordinate their efforts to help affect change in our community. Captain Tony Amerson is the Police Department liaison who will work with the community liaisons to help implement the model within their neighborhoods.
“The Ambassadors of Change Council has chosen Mrs. Sherry Cook Welch and Mr. Oscar Penn as Ward 2 Community liaisons,” says Captain Tony Amerson. “We are in the process of expanding this model in order to have two liaisons from every ward. Our hope is to have everyone in the Opelika Community truly come together and work as one.”
Additionally, the department is excited to announce the release of their smartphone application. This app will serve as a new way for the police department to connect with Opelika residents and visitors, providing information quickly and efficiently to anyone with a smartphone.
The app offers quick access to items of public interest and is easy to use. In just a few clicks, users can:
- Submit a tip
- Receive push notifications
- Search Opelika’s most wanted
- Connect to the organization’s social media platforms
- Read the latest news and press releases
- View sex offenders in the area
- And More!
The Opelika Police Department mobile app was created by ThePoliceApp.com, a division of OCV, LLC, which specializes in mobile app development for police departments and public safety organizations across the country.
For more information on the TOGETHER, OPELIKA campaign, visit opelikapd.org.