WM Police short-staffed at dispatch desk
New uniforms highlight WMPD rebranding initiative
By JOHN RECH
West Memphis Police Department logged its August report to commissioners before the holiday weekend. Chief Michael Pope announced job offers being extended to ten untrained of_cers and three new dispatchers. Pope said the new academy class would be trained with recruits from other law enforcement agencies.
“The West Memphis Police Academy will include recruits from the Marion Police and the Crittenden County Sheriff Department,” said Pope.
Untrained of_cers undertake an eight to ten month development process before patrolling on their own.
The dispatch department staf_ng sank to a new low, but hiring in the department buoyed the staf_ng numbers. The department held 14 dispatchers on its organization chart but dropped to 4 fulltime and 1 part time worker before extending job offers to three more candidates.
”That brings us up to eight,” said Councilwoman Lorraine Mohammed.
In the meantime some school resources of_cers were asked to cover emergency dispatch just as classes resumed at city schools for one of the busiest per capita call centers in the nation.
New look uniforms were ordered. Chief Pope unveiled uniform shirt for dispatchers at the last police commission meeting. The uniforms rebranding efforts and new regalia will include the patrol division and crossing guards too.
”The new material will be more breathable and lighter adding comfort for our of_cers,” said Mohamed to city council.
Continued training highlighted the balance of Chief Pope’s report to city council. Three of_cers completed basic school resource of_cer training, Kristin Kounce, Decory Davis, and Amber Kimbrough. Two of_cers studied basic hostage negotiation. Sgt. Kevin Jordan and Jessica Anderson completed 40 hours.
Two of_cers attended the Shelby County Motorcycle School as a new motorcycle patrol unit began to form.
Of_cers Win_eld and Shelton attended the school, said Mohamed. The motorcycle unit will be up and going around the _rst of next year, 2022. Ms Win_eld took it upon herself to pass the
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West Memphis Police revealed new uniforms for patrol officers, crossing guards and dispatchers. The new look not only served to rebrand the department under Chief Michael Pope but also provide more comfort on the job. Pope announced the big change with a show and tell presentation on Thursday August 26 to police commissioners at city hall.
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training. There will be an additional class in September. Four ofcers were slated for upcoming Detective level 1 training including Nicholas Anderson, chad Davis, Brianna Porter and Mose Walker. The new digital forensics evidence unit continued under developmental plans. The new group will le and edit police surveillance video from body cameras, dash cameras, and Sky Cop systems mounted across the city.
Police continued to explore remodeling the old re station 3 for use as a city SWAT headquarters. The station was located on East Barton near Maddox Elementary School.
”Chief Pope was driving around and noticed the empty re station,” said Mohammed. “He thought a it would be a prime location to deter the heavy amount of crime un the area. They are looking at getting new HVAC units.” Pope planned on communicating major crime arrests with an apprehension list supplied to city council members each month.