Nothing was off-limits in topics discussed with Killeen Police Department Chief Charles Kimble on Monday during an advisory meeting.
The monthly meetings are held by District 1 Councilwoman Shirley Fleming.
“I plan these meetings six months out and invited (city) department heads to participate,” Fleming said. “We talk about anything and everything that is happening in the city whether it’s good or bad.”
The monthly meetings are held at local coffee shop, The Bloom Coffee Roasters.
The group of about 10 people, that included the department’s Neighborhood Watch captains and members, asked Kimble an array of questions including his stance on no-knock warrants and how the department is perceived in the media. Kimble said that he takes no-knock seriously and believes that it should be used under extreme circumstances.
“We have, however, used other creative ways to catch our criminals that do not result in no-knock warrants,” Kimble said.
Kimble also added that any recommendations of no-knocks do not get authorized until he personally looks documentation over and personally approves them.
“Everyone should understand that our department takes executive decisions seriously,” he said.
Recently, the department has been in the news in light of the arrest and indictment of former KPD officer Anthony Custance who was charged with the third-degree felony offense of tampering with physical evidence.
The incident is stemmed from a no-knock warrant that resulted in the death of 40-year-old James Reed.
Custance — who was a member of the department’s Tactical Response Unit when the raid happened — is accused of firing shots in the back of Reed’s home at 215 W. Hallmark Ave. in February. According to police, these rounds did not result in any injuries but were not in compliance with the planned operation.
On June 7, several news stations and the Herald reported on Reed’s family holding a press conference outside the department urging officials to end no-knock warrants.
Kimble said his views of the media, including the local newspapers, is that “they are our partners.”
“There is a lot of good that happens in the community, a lot. Things like today, of us talking; getting to know our community. The relationship between the police and the community; this is one of the many things I like about working in Killeen,” he said.
Kimble also highlighted the department’s partnership with a mobile app available that connects doorbell cameras to police reporting.
It’s called Neighbors by Ring and with the help of local law enforcement agencies, crime is monitored and reacted in real time to catch “porch pirates” or other criminals in the act.
The app connects through a Ring or other doorbell camera device that streams live audio and video directly to a smartphone or tablet, allowing homeowners to stay connected whether in the kitchen or across town.
“I suggest that everyone gets one. I don’t own stock with Ring or nothing like that. Ring helped us with several crime activities and the partnership has been quite helpful,” he said.
Fleming ended the meeting with asking Kimble about personnel on how they are taking the new 12-hour shift, which started in April.
Kimble said the new scheduling for patrol officers has helped with answering police calls efficiently and the patrol officers routinely have time off.
“We currently have 17 to 21 officers on the streets at any given time,” he said.
The police department is a 336 member organization, with 258 authorized sworn positions, 247 are currently filled as of June 3.