Editor’s note: Rick Miller is a former Killeen police chief and  former county attorney for Bell County.  

The Herald’s editorial (Sunday, Oct. 8) urging something be done about crime in Killeen, bolstered by a poll indicating that 76 percent of the respondents (although the actual number is not stated) are seriously concerned, does not adequately address the problem. Frankly, it was anemic in its assumptions about what needs to be done.

First, and probably most important, it assumes that merely filling a vacant police position is sufficient to begin curbing crime. That’s erroneous. It takes a period of seasoning, perhaps a year or more, before a new officer has the necessary experience to perform at an appropriate level.

Hiring a new officer merely because he can shoot a pistol is definitely not the answer, although that is an important skill when a situation calls for it.

Today’s police officer must bring to the job a great deal more than that in terms of understanding the dynamics of  the community and adopting those practices that support a viable relationship with citizens, as guided by the policies of a competent police administration and in-depth analysis of crime problems.

Second, there is a need to have a sufficient number of police officers, whatever that number is. However, unless salaries are competitive, the police department will continue to experience pronounced turnover.

If the city is doing nothing more than training officers who, upon becoming certified and gaining a little experience, then leave for other agencies who pay a competitive salary, the taxpayer is being cheated out of the protection championed as important to reduce crime, and the money is wasted. And the vacancies will continue.

Obviously this presents a significant budget issue, and the Herald’s editorial and councilpersons posturing about “doing something” about crime fail to address the significant budget question as to funding those expenditures necessary to implement a bona fide plan.

Crime is a political challenge as well as a safety matter. Are the city fathers and mothers prepared to step up to the plate and take those measures necessary to begin curbing crime? As the trite saying goes, “talk’s cheap.”

Third, there must be more emphasis on citizen involvement, rather than the “oh, by the way” mention at the end of the editorial. Crime is a community problem, not solely a police problem. A major portion of crime control falls back on the individual citizen, taking those steps necessary to protect himself or herself: locking the house and car; permanently marking valuables so as to thwart theft; cooperating with the police as a victim or witness; willingly serving jury duty; becoming involved in community programs to reduce crime; watching out for your neighbors.

The police department should also make itself more visible in promoting anti-crime programs such as Crimestoppers and other such efforts.

Real commitment to curbing the crime problem calls for action steps, not more rhetoric. Is the city prepared for the challenge?

Rick Miller

Harker Heights

(9) comments

eyewatchingu

Fact those that want the people of the city to police their streets, usually are the ones that belong or support the neighborhood Bloods, crips, and Gangsters disciples, they are usually the ones that say human trafficking has nothing to do with Prostitution and are usually the ones that say gangs don't pimp out humans. They are also the ones that feel they are better then others and use that type of policing to bully people around in the community, they also are the people that end up causing innocent people to be stalked, terriorized and killed. Neighborhood watch groups only work in gated communities, not in cities that are over ran by gang bangers and their families, silly DJs and all one color agenda groups, that spend more time hiding the crime then admitting it because they want one whole dist to themselves, instead of becoming part of America and part of a city, they tend to help destroy high crime neighborhoods because they need a self esteem boost because they themselves feel they have no power. We need a Chief of Police that ctually is liscened to do his job, we don't need the NAACP or any other all one race group any where near our POLICE, or do we need any more nuts running around claiming to be Human Trafficking officers when they them self have no clue what they are saying, because they only want to terrorize someone.

blackessence

Decreasing crime really isn't hard. The real problem is that people will not participate until they really get sick and tired of the crime. Its that simple. when people really get tired, of the crime, people will not stand for crack houses in their neighborhoods, their children staying out late or disrespecting their parents and other adults, teachers will actually work with parents to discipline students, etc. But in the meantime some measures for consideration might be neighborhood policing, incorporating citizens into the policing process with public responsibility groups, neighborhood watches, citizens police academies, explorer clubs for children, healthier and more positive aesthetics when planning housing developments and a public service campaign geared toward positive citizenship and public stewardship. These are just a few suggestions.

eyewatchingu

@Alvin I hear you loud and clear. Our Children, seniors and adults have now been put in harms way by carelessness. Truth is, this is a long hard battle and it will take a real person to stand up and fight. Sadly everything I just wrote, has now ended up in Phylliss Jones hands and she will take it and give it to her and I quote her, Her people, so they can try and use it during the Mayor race. They do not come up with their own research they steal it from others, and then when they get in office they fail. Because they are mindless drones.
Once again Anything I write here or any where is my thoughts and my personal opinions. To take ones intellectual thoughts and repost them on your facebook page or use them to run for office is intellectual thief, the lowest of all Thief!

eyewatchingu

@Alvin, You know I love to research before I actually speak out. The KEDC is a program that could do a lot of good for are community, yet at the same time it can damage if handled in in the wrong way and is not overseen by the right type of people. This is why most cities make sure they stay away from the pay to play type governing.
So let me start with a few quotes and where they come from, as its better to show where my work and thoughts come from.
Start of quote : Zoning is the division of a city into districts that permit specific land uses, such as residential, commercial, industrial, or agricultural. Zoning authority empowers a city to protect residential neighborhoods, promote economic development, and restrict hazardous land uses to appropriate areas of the city. It is designed to reduce street congestion; promote safety from fires and other dangers; promote health; provide adequate light and air; prevent overcrowding of land; and facilitate the provision of adequate transportation, utilities, schools, parks, and other public services and facilities. As with all issues that affect the residents of a city, the power to zone is best exercised by the level of government that is closest to the people. For example, a person from a small town in the Panhandle cannot possibly know what type of zoning is best for a large coastal city. Chapter 211 of the Texas Local Government Code contains many procedural requirements that must be followed when zoning property, including strict notice and hearing provisions. The requirements ensure that residents of the city and affected neighborhoods have a strong voice any time a zoning change is considered. In addition, Chapter 211 provides for the creation of a planning and zoning commission to make recommendations on the adoption of initial regulations and to consider proposed amendments. Also, a board of adjustment may be appointed to hear requests for variances from the regulations. Zoning authority is generally demanded by the residents of cities and citizens, through neighborhood and preservation groups, who support it wholeheartedly. In essence, zoning grants a city the authority to prohibit detrimental uses and to promote beneficial uses. For example, zoning authority allows a city to prohibit lead smelting plants or junkyards from being located in or near residential areas, thereby protecting the quality of life and property values for residents. Without zoning authority, the property values in a city would certainly drop.

Zoning Changes and Property Values
Because zoning is an essential power, statutes that require compensation when a property’s value is affected by a zoning change are extremely rare in the United States. Rather, the U.S. Supreme Court and various state courts have set forth tests that are used to determine whether a government regulation requires compensation to a property owner.
In fact, the Supreme Court of Texas upheld a city’s authority to make reasonable zoning changes. In that case, a city rezoned a residential area to provide for larger lot sizes. The rezoning was designed to create more open space, less traffic, greater setbacks, less noise, and similar results. The Court concluded that a city has a legitimate governmental interest in such results and in preserving the rate and character of community growth. The Court also found that no “taking” of the owner’s property occurred, because the regulation did not impose a great economic impact on him.
Any legislative requirement that compensation should be paid when a zoning change (or any other municipal regulation, for that matter) allegedly reduces property value would create an untenable situation under which cities would either: 1) go bankrupt; or 2) be forced to give up the local power to zone property in the best interests of the community as a whole. And the reality is that most zoning changes are initiated by a property owner and increase the value of land.
End of quote
Btw Did You Know?
San Antonio’s annexation of land on the south side of the city set the stage for Toyota’s decision to build a new manufacturing plant in the city.

I feel that we the citizens when it comes to our safety and our property value we should have the right to vote. To go behind our backs like thieves in the night, only shows that that their is more then meets the eye. I want to see what are city laws are on these types of plants along with county, state and federal laws. Just like the red light camera thing, I don't want to find out the city has been breaking a law knowingly just for profit!
I honestly think we need to clean house from Mayor down.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

I realize that my previous comment was 'off the subject', but these days, when you are dealing with the Killeen administrative management, sometimes you have to 'get off the subject as it is felt that if you proceed in an orderly fashion and request that you want a question answered, you never get an answer. The point is, 'what has happened to the chemical plant???? I have asked a number of times with no resultant answer. The gist seems to point to 'another secret meeting behind closed doors', or else they just didn't care to answer and are going to plow ahead in spite of the objections that were raised in the forum.

Well Ya'll, are you going to go with your expected plan that is over the objections of patrons at the forum or are you just going to say 'We have sufficient votes so there is no need to even call for the question'????

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

@ eyewatchingu: What do you think of the advertisement that the City of Waco has been running about 'what a great place Waco is for Police???? I would suggest that could be a possibility, but Killeen, I believe 'it's a great place for training and certification, but as a place of employment, no thanks'. But you have to decide for yourself.

Many of the concepts you mentioned are valuable, but what is your opinion on the
KEDC, the fact that this organization has been in existence since 1990, that this city is so strangled by the way this city has entertained the notion that first it is to be managed by a group of 9 director. 3 each from the city council, 3 each from the Industrial council, and 3 from the Chamber of Commerce, that the city council, was accorded to, by council action, given the ability to 'not go before the open, sitting council, freely have the ability to 'enjoin' this city of Killeen in a venture that possibly will do harm to this citizens of this city. And for that they get a stipend, that is controlled by the city council amounting to more than $100,000.00 dollars annually. This is all in agreement with the city council for land that the KEDC owns and collects payments for.

I am bringing up this KEDC vote of the 9 member Board Of Director's that says this company that will be cleaning the materials that uses the compound H2O2 using H2SO4, Sulfuric Acid, and the KEC doesn't even want any input from the city council nor even require a vote of it's citizens.

In my opinion and possessing some knowledge of 'what a dangerous compound Sulfuric Acid can be, this is one compound that I would not allow in such close proximity to children, schools, or any citizen that it could possibility come in contact with the Sulfuric Acid itself or any vapors that may exist within the confines of not only the plant itself but also a vapor cloud itself.

For this reason, I would require a plant design that, as a minimum, provide an ESD, (Emergency Shutdown System), and that the ESD be configured to be a 'Fail Safe' mode of System operation, Locate at least two separate and independent electrical power supply's coming in to this plant from two different electrical sections of electrical power supply, and provide a source of flare release that will function in the event of an accidental release of any compounds, other than any compounds other than atmospheric air. And I would stipulate, through a city council resolution in open session that 'any matters that are not free of any and all containment's go before this city council now and forever more, to be a restriction'. This body, the KEDC has had their own way for 27 years now.

Were you aware of this KEDC action requiring nothing in regards to wanting or even requiring action of the city council????

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

eyewatchingu

After I get this bad tooth yanked out, and I feel better I will go more in depth and answer each of your questions. I sure hope their is a tooth angel, cause I know its going to hurt!

eyewatchingu

@Alvin I agree with you, and with him.
I also know that having people like Phyllis Jones of the NAACP who refuses to admit the truth about gangs, and rather hide and bury it, do the community a big disservice. When she uses her DJ job to promote untruths about gangs because her and the NAACP hide the truth because they feel that, community policing is to be done so as not to bring light to the actual problem in fear of humiliation and lost of donations.
First like I have said many times we need a Chief of Police that has been seasoned like the one in Cincy ( Cincinnati, Ohio. If Cincy's crime rate at a population of over 300k can keep their crime down below ours, and their Chief can openly and honestly stand up and talk about gangs and actually do something about it, well then we deserve the same. We are geographically the center of Texas, it is a valuable territory for gangs. Easy access, you have highways that go in all directions, you have many people from all over the country in one central location, you have an army base which is valuable in training of soldiers for their gangs, many come and go. Just like cincy. Cincy if and when it has bad policing because of its location can and has become a valuable territory, for east coast gangs. Its only common sense. Its like when one starts a trucking company, you want your main hub in a location that can be easy to access all major roads for transportation. What makes Killeen even far worst is we have the combo of Illegal gang bangers and other mafia style illegals that use this army base to bring in not just sex human trafficking victims, they bring in worker human trafficking, from farms to nail salons. Gangsters Disciples (74) not only del in all types of drug trafficking, weapon trafficking, they are also a radical Muslim based gang. They have know branched out into digital crime, from online to card scanners at the fuel pumps. Yet because of Jones, NAACP, and the BLMM we are not allowed to inform the public of the truth. Instead we are to turn a blind eye to the gang members in our schools and make exceptions for bad behavior based on skin color. We have to worry about policing hobby lobby and any other store that might sell cotton, or worry about rather or not to many men are wearing cowboy hats, and rather or not a white woman or child has loop earrings in.
These groups have brought dived into the city of Killeen Tx and with that are crime rate will grow, because only type of people that will move here are the ones that are looking to commit the crimes and get away with it.
The NAACP has now joined with the BLM ( blm has called for the killing of Cops so far more then 11 of our Officers since 2014 have been killed because of the BLM ) These two group, do not want officers to have the right to defend themselves, nor do they want to be honest with what the true problem is. If we bring in more low income housing we will end up like Chicago, Chicago finally had to tear down many of those low income apartment buildings, because they became nothing but drug and murder dens. When Chicago did that, they hoped that disbursing the people from those apartments to other areas would solve the problem, sadly it just moved crime all over.
One of the First things we need to do is to talk to Ft Hood, and let them know we will no longer clean up after the gang members they bring into our city, that we demand Ft Hood to vet each and every Soldier and family member they allow to come off that base, this would be a great start in cutting crime down that is gang related, it will also cut down on gang recruitment, and the training of new gang members by soldiers. This gives our PD a fighting chance when it comes to standoffs or rolling up on an armed robbery. Secondly, we need to actually start with gang free zones in our parks and school areas, just like drug free zones. Thirdly we need to go into the schools and teach the truth about gangs, instead of allowing people like Jones to spread lies and half truths to the public. We also need to find a news outlet that will honestly do the research on gangs and our local gangs and actually do a really story on it, I have offered many times to do and help with the research.
Last, we need a seasoned officer for Chief not one out for photo ops.
Take a look at these, trust me 5 years ago cincy had trouble until they did a clean sweep, walnut hills was a well to do area, and home to Walnut Hills high school a high school that to get in you must have a extremely high IQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SunlOZGLMRo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuOPzhmD52E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2Q_WHqok2U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7P3DF015ZI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLlya9mLlfw

We need Officers, and a Chief that will not listen to orgs, one that will do his job.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

@Rick Miller: Some of the items which you mention I can agree with you on and others I do not agree with you on.

First I agree with you on the Oct 8, 2017 commentary urging something needs to be done about crime in Killeen, approximately 76 percent urging 'something is to be done'. I agree 'it was an anemic attempt at solving this city's woes'.

And I also agree that this article 'assumes that merely filling vacant police position is sufficient to begin curbing crime'. The eradication of 'crime' is not a motivator, instead it only serve to 'demotivate' the people who reside in a city.

Extract from 'At NAACP seminar, officials discuss police challenges' Dated: 10-14-2017, Killeen Daily Herald, Killeen, Texas'


Continuation of copy: 'Representing the Killeen Police Department, Lt. Antonia McDaniel stressed two points from the new police chief, Charles Kimble: fighting crime and community involvement.'
Continuation of copy: “As our population grows, so does the crime level, and we need our community involved, because we can’t fight crime without you,” McDaniel said.' End of copy.

Why does this Police Chief think that 'As our population grows, so does our crime level'???? Then can it be said that 'As our population increases, so is it a fact that our crime will increase regardless of what we do with or about it'. Is it what this city's, this county', this state thinks about 'what is the nature of a criminal in our modern day society???? Must it be considered that it is because of growth that the crime rate soars????' End of Extract from the Killeen Daily Herald, Killeen, Texas.

The bring about of a balanced budget is not a function of 'dropping the vacant positions I the KPD', nor is it a function of raising the salary's of the KPD, but about what the city does, or is doing about 'crime in the streets' of this city and making this city safe'. I contend that 'giving the citizens a more safe zone' will go a long way in 'solving the KPD's ill's than a general raise in pay' and solving the moral problem that has existed for a number of years. A satisfied patrolman/woman can do wonders.

I agree that 'It is erroneous to accept the proposition that merely filling the vacant chief's position is erroneous, and that a period of time will induce a better chief of police'.

I think it goes much deeper than that, to get down to the core of the problem.

In my opinion, you should look at the make up of this city. 'what is this city's administration doing about the problem'???? What 'tools is this city's administration providing to the KPD and also the KFD'???? Does this administration provide a good working relationship which will promote the retention of good patrolmen/women???? In my view this has always been a problem and I've lived here since 2003.

Copy: 'Today’s police officer must bring to the job a great deal more than that in terms of understanding the dynamics of  the community and adopting those practices that support a viable relationship with citizens, as guided by the policies of a competent police administration and in-depth analysis of crime problems.' End of copy.

And I will add to that the in depth knowledge of 'what is the makeup and extent of crime in the streets of this city'???? It is the personal opinion of this writer that 'if you don't know that, you can't seem to get a handle on this problem'.

Copy: 'Second, there is a need to have a sufficient number of police officers, whatever that number is. However, unless salaries are competitive, the police department will continue to experience pronounced turnover.'
Continuation of copy: 'If the city is doing nothing more than training officers who, upon becoming certified and gaining a little experience, then leave for other agencies who pay a competitive salary, the taxpayer is being cheated out of the protection championed as important to reduce crime, and the money is wasted. And the vacancies will continue.' End of copy.

In my view, this does not address the core of the problem. It's true that 'a city does in fact need a nucleus of good trained officers, this is not the problem of this city. I am of the opinion that the problems that are in this city cannot be addressed by 'throwing more money to the officers and thinking all will be well'. You cannot substitute good moral with more money. You cannot substitute a well trained officer that portends to taking the advice and using that advice in lieu of just making the rounds of the duty station and letting it go at that. As this writer says: pay a competitive salary, but do not go overboard for it nothing but cost this city money that is does not have.

Copy: 'Obviously this presents a significant budget issue, and the Herald’s editorial and councilpersons posturing about “doing something” about crime fail to address the significant budget question as to funding those expenditures necessary to implement a bona fide plan.' End of copy.

I am appalled a many of you are that this city is prepared to dole out 60 to 65 percent of it's budget 'and getting, in essence, nothing but lip service in return'.

Copy: 'Crime is a political challenge as well as a safety matter. Are the city fathers and mothers prepared to step up to the plate and take those measures necessary to begin curbing crime? As the trite saying goes, “talk’s cheap.” End of copy.

Yes I agree, but the question must go back even further than that, the prime question, in my opinion, is 'what is the city administrators prepared to do about it as this city council is 'too-blocked' in it's operation because the council majority tends to vote 'the other way' and not what this city needs to advance. I will say this, this council has come under the influence of 'other's' going back to at least 1990'. This in turn has depicted this chamber to be immune to 'what this city needs in order to be a well seasoned city management. This can be seen starting back in 1990 when this city entertained the notion that what was needed was a KEDC and strove to align itself with certain members of this city and granted to this body the opportunistic ability to bypass this council, bypass what is considered good and considerate skills at going before the city council and plead the case for working within the framework of this city government. Instead it chose to build a modicum of people, some of the city council, some of the Killeen Industrial foundation, and some from the Killeen Chamber of Commerce. This council is comprised of 3 members from each of the foregoing. The city council members are our illustrious city mayor, our illustrious city council man, Rivera, and council woman Debbie Nash King. It is my personal opinion 'that all three are from the same foundation of thought that, and I digress here, 'the future of Killeen revolves around the concept that the people don't know what is good for them, but we,as a small limited body who is all powerful do'. And this is what our city is famous for.

Copy: 'As the trite saying goes, “talk’s cheap.” End of copy.

Yes talk is cheap, but if the power players are in control, what is there left????

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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