1. What was 2007 like for Aiken Public Safety?
It was a very busy year, and very productive in keeping our crime rate at a minimum. The city limits increased dramatically in 2007. South Whiskey Road was annexed; Woodside Plantation Phase 4, which extends out to Anderson Pond Road on Silver Bluff Road, was added; several new properties on East Pine Log Road were added, along with several new subdivisions on the west end of the city in the area of Citizens Park. With the expansion of the city limits comes the responsibility of new areas to patrol, additional roadways to provide traffic enforcement, and new businesses to provide additional security checks.
We had some concerns with growing gang activities this past year but we implemented a task force which effectively reduced many of the potential problems that could have occurred.
2. What does the department have in store for 2008?
2008 has already started off busy. We have new fire trucks to order; a new substation to build on the southside; a new computer system to implement; the beginning of a new traffic enforcement unit; improvements to our medical first-responder program; an increase in our neighborhood crime-watch programs, which involves our community helping us by being our eyes and ears concerning problems and crime in the community; increase our youth involvement in positive activity and department programs; prepare for our law enforcement reaccreditation inspection, which will take place in December; and implement new programs to prevent identity thefts and arrest credit card thieves.
3. How does Aiken Public Safety differ from other law enforcement agencies in the area?
All of our officers provide police, fire and first responder medical services.
4. What is the biggest and most positive change you've seen with the department?
The daily exchange of information with other law enforcement agencies in our area as well as state and federal agencies. With computers, we can connect the dots much easier to develop information about crimes and suspects.
5. Do you think that the consolidation of the police department and the fire department in the 1970s was a benefit for the city, and if so, why?
Yes, it was a great approach back then, and it still is a very pro-active approach to providing the best service to the community. No matter what the emergency is -- police, fire or natural disaster -- we have an entire team of employees who are cross-trained to provide whatever service is needed to bring the emergency to safe conclusion.