From ticket writers to specialized personnel, the Copperas Cove Police Department has a wide array of resources to help mitigate crime and promote public safety.
Probably one of the most visible units in the department is the traffic division, said Sgt. Kevin Keller, a spokesman for the agency. Members of the unit are on the road daily working to protect drivers.
The division consists of four officers and one supervisor who operate from both motorcycle units and patrol cars.
Motorcycles allow for easier access through heavy traffic problems and quicker turnarounds, allowing officers to get to scenes faster, Keller said. They also save the city fuel costs.
“We can get to places that the cars can’t, and we can relate to the people that drive motorcycles and see the problems they face on the road,” said Officer Thomas Williams, who has spent the last year and half in the traffic unit but has been with Cove PD for almost five years.
While not necessarily seen as tools, the traffic unit’s high-visibility uniforms contribute to their safety, Williams said.
Another great tool for the traffic division is the speed trailer, Keller said.
The trailer alerts drivers of their traveling speed once set up in a location. Traditionally, the speed trailer is set up in school zones and residential areas where there are a high number of complaints about speeders, Keller said.
“The speed trailer really helps us out, and lets the public know we are listening,” Williams said. “Being that we can’t be everywhere, if there are speeding complaints in an area we can show a presence there.”
While the trailer doesn’t allow for enforcement of a traffic violation, it does allow for the department to educate motorists.
“We try to educate the public (not fine), that is what we are for,” Williams said.
Other useful tools in the traffic division’s box include a LIDAR (a light detection and range gun) and a ticket writer.
The LIDAR is similar to a traditional radar gun meant to show speeds of traveling vehicles. It, however, uses a laser to target a passing vehicle and provides a more accurate reading.
Ticket writers reduce the time of traffic stops allowing for the officer to fill out everything on a small computer that prints tickets.
“I think we have traffic stops down to an average of seven minutes,” Williams said, which is a convenience for both motorists and officers.
Criminal Investigation Division
Unlike the traffic unit, people rarely interact with the department’s criminal investigation division.
This unit consists of six investigators and two supervisors who work to solve crimes in the city. Two additional investigators work as part of the Bell County organized crime unit, which services most of Central Texas.
Two detectives work burglaries and thefts, two work sex crimes, one handles financial crimes, and one detective investigates miscellaneous incidents.
One of the main resources is the department’s personnel and teamwork, said Detective Chuck Olgesby.
“Just the support of our co-workers is my biggest resource,” Olgesby said.
While working their own crimes, if a bigger incident occurs, every detective can be mobilized to that particular offense, Keller said. Criminal investigations work well as a team.
The detective division has several specialized tools, including an alternate light source used for detecting bodily fluids, Keller said. But whatever it doesn’t have, there is a way to get it.
“If we have a major crime and we don’t have the resources, we always have the Texas Rangers,” Olgesby said.
The Texas Rangers are a phone call away and can provide any tool owned by the state and even those of federal agencies for the uses of solving an incident, Keller said.
Other divisions, including community service, communications, administration and special weapons and tactics units, operate in Cove to protect and serve the community.
Keller said community service integrates the public into the daily routine of the police department, making it more aware of the agency’s happenings. SWAT, on the other hand, is meant to handle crisis situations.
Recently equipped with an armored truck, SWAT is made up of a commander and 15 police officers, two of whom act as team leaders and two who are snipers.