Forums reveal problems, praises for Lockhart PD
By LPR Staff
A series of public forums held last month gave the Lockhart Police Department a more focused picture of how the community sees the department.
Nearly 90 people participated in the two forums, held on Oct. 17 and Oct. 25. The citizens had the chance to address their concerns and the police were able to respond.
rall, the citizens showed considerable support for the police,” said Lockhart police chief Frank Coggins in a statement released early this week. “There were a couple of rough spots that offered the police a chance to improve service delivery.”
The rough spots Coggins refers to included concerns about how officers conduct themselves, both at crime scenes and when making traffic enforcement stops.
One individual complained that the officer responding to a report of theft from his home did not care about investigating the case. He based his opinion on the lack of crime scene investigation and evidence collected from the scene.
Coggins said that officers have been instructed to remember that a burglary of a person”s residence is a violation, both of that person”s safety and person, and that burglary victims should be given the responding officer”s complete care and attention. They have also been instructed to communicate with victims, to explain why they are or are not taking certain action at a crime scene.
Coggins said that surveys filled out by many of the forum attendees were also beneficial to the department. According to the surveys, the most pressing problems attendees would like to see addressed include vacant lots filled with trash and debris, abandoned cars and abandoned homes. Citywide public concerns include drug dealing, truancy, vandalism and gang activity.
Overall, Coggins said, the surveys revealed that people were happy with police service.
“A key question was “do you feel safe in your neighborhood if out alone at night?” Approximately 69 percent of the respondents indicated that they did,” he said.
The department also received high marks in the survey for being polite and friendly, keeping order, working with residents and addressing community concerns.
Around 72 percent of the respondents said they had seen a police officer in their neighborhood in the last 48 hours. Many reported seeing officers having friendly conversations in the neighborhood.
“This [kind of] community activity gives credence to the police slogan of “to protect and serve.”” Coggins said.