Violent crime, traffic enforcement and the police officer licensing procedure were just some of the talking points Killeen police Chief Charles “Chuck” Kimble had to navigate at his first of two meet-and-greets Monday.
Kimble stood before about 25 residents at Killeen Councilwoman Shirley Fleming’s monthly District 1 neighborhood watch meeting at 11:30 a.m. Monday, and fielded questions at K-Town Coffee.
His message: Change for Killeen’s battle with crime is on the way, but it’s not going to happen overnight.
“It takes a long time to turn a cruise ship around, to turn a battleship around,” he said. “Folks, we’re turning the cruise ship, and as we’re turning, things might get tipped over, or spill over the side. But we’re going to be all right.”
Many residents asked why the department didn’t have enough officers. Kimble said even if the department received funding and authorization to hire a new group of officers, it would take 18 months for them to complete the police academy and become street-ready. For now, Kimble is going to focus on maximizing the efforts of the staff he has, and that starts with working smarter.
Every false alarm that a home security system generates requires the attention of two police officers and takes about 21 minutes to tend to, Kimble said. If there are 6,000 false alarm calls a year, that’s 4,200 hours in which a police officer is tied up with something that doesn’t involve the protection of a resident.
Kimble is working with the private security companies to find other ways to handle a false alarm, he said at the meeting.
“We have to prioritize,” he said. “Some things just can’t be done. We need to work smarter.”
The family members of a 9-year-old girl who was inside a home where police executed a no-knock search warrant Oct. 25 were present at the meeting. Ron Cebulski, the girl’s grandfather, and Jamar Carson, who is engaged to the girl’s mother, expressed their frustrations with the way police went about arresting Ryan ONeal, 19, who was staying in the house.
ONeal was arrested on a felony stolen firearms charge, and police recovered several different drugs in his room, according to an inventory list obtained by the Herald.
Kimble declined to discuss the case.
“I’m not going to talk about things that are pending,” Kimble said. “It’s obvious that we’re going to be in litigation over this.”
One resident stood up and thanked Kimble for a traffic detail conducted Thursday on Elms Road, Farm-to-Market 3470 and FM 439.
Police issued 97 improper passing citations, and 25 for other violations, during an operation that ticketed drivers who improperly passed an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.
With the holidays quickly approaching, Killeen police wanted to ensure the safety of residents in the future, Kimble said. With the holidays, comes more drivers on the roads, people driving longer distances and more often, and an increase in drinking and driving, according to the chief.
“The reason why we vigorously enforce traffic at the end of the day, is to save lives,” Kimble said. “I want to put a piece of paper in someone’s hands that will help save a life down the road.”