Coffee with the Chief, led by Hastings Deputy Chief Dale Boulter Wednesday, brought discussion about school safety, what to do about cars speeding around Hastings schools and improper parking.
School safety is a topic not just here, but across the country, Boulter said. It’s not simple and it’s not a task just for school administrators, but a task for every person involved in the community.
“It’s more than money… law enforcement and the schools have good communication, that’s a number one thing.”
Hastings Schools Superintendent Carrie Duits reported the recent installation of camera systems around the schools makes a difference. Incidents in the areas covered by cameras were solved right away; others without camera coverage took days, she said.
Access to the building is tightly controlled with staff more involved from school opening to closing.
An electronic card reader system does away with entry by key.
Building relationships with law enforcement is critical, enhanced by the liaison officer and the Hastings Police Cadets, Duits said. “The cadet program is growing; it’s a really clear piece evidence that it’s working,” she said.
“Times have changed,” Boulter said. “It’s amazing what they’ve done with the time and resources they have…the issue is at hand and will probably always be with us. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
*speeding around school buildings: Police can increase patrols at certain times of day and use the sign trailer that shows the speed of motorists.
*cars parked on both sides of a street at a business that blocks larger vehicles: Boulter will “check it out,” and talk to the owner and customers about parking in permitted areas.
*drivers making so much noise they wake residents at 2 a.m.: residents should feel free to call Barry Central Dispatch and ask them to send a patrol car there.
Hastings Police Department averages four to six thousand complaints a year and the volume of calls to all law enforcement agencies across the county is up 33 percent, Boulter said.
“To date, we have taken 5,300 complaints, and will probably be well over 8,000 this year. Those making non-emergency calls may wait a little longer. We’re hiring new people and working overtime, making sure we’re still giving the best service possible,” he said.
Without a code enforcer since April, newly-hired code enforcer Frank Jesensek starts next week. Boulter said. James will be busy clearing up pending complaints, but residents should still call with problems: “We’ll get to them as soon as we can.”