Officials from the local, military and school district police departments met with 175 people on Tuesday to discuss the current state of the public safety industry.
At the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce Public Safety Forum, topics of reduced crime numbers, collaboration and youth were discussed.
The featured speakers — Killeen Police Chief Charles “Chuck” Kimble, Killeen Police Chief of Staff Commander Jeff Donohue, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Emergency Services
Chris Zimmer and Killeen Independent School District Police Chief Ralph Disher — have a total of 101 years of experience.
Donohue and Kimble presented recent data of crime numbers to the audience. They also talked about ongoing working relations with Fort Hood and the Killeen school system.
The presentation included a “Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety” model of the city’s crime and crash density, broken down by district.
“We realized that arresting ourselves out of a problem is not the way to do it. Crime is not a police problem. Crime is a community problem. The police department is the solution,” Donohue said.
According to Kimble, in 2018, crime has reduced significantly in several categories; murder declined by 61 percent, rape by 22 percent, vehicle theft by 56 percent, robbery by 54 percent and aggravated assault by 52 percent. Kimble was hired in 2017 after an extensive search by the city, replacing longtime former chief Dennis Baldwin.
To highlight Fort Hood’s policing, Zimmer discussed the efforts between KPD and the military police.
“We at Fort Hood take our community engagement very seriously. Two-thirds of our population live off-post. Our responsibility is to the safety and security of all of our soldiers, retirees and their families. If we don’t work together as a team in all of our emergency services, then we are not effective in our mission,” Zimmer said.
Killeen ISD is home to 54 public schools that help educate about 45,000 students annually.
Disher stresses that “building a relationship with the young people,” help the department.
The chamber plans to host more public forums later in the year on other topics.
Chamber CEO John Crutchfield said “this is the first we have held on public safety. Our council thought it important to emphasize the progress that has been made, especially to our business members.”