"Be good to people. Build public image by the way you treat people!"
That was the primary message Police Chief Lynn Hahn had to share with officers his first week on the job. Hahn was hired by the mayor at the June 18 City Council meeting.
"I know we have people who are helping others. That's the kind of thing I like to see, getting out and pushing cars of the road when you have to," Hahn said. "I believe as police officers we have to protect everyone's constitutional rights, including the people who are accused.
"I've been there when we've had to fight someone. But, we can have integrity and treat people with respect," he said.
Two of the biggest issues which Hahn will be addressing are the radios and updating department polices, which have not been updated in "some time."
He said the radio system at Benton County is being changed and if Pea Ridge doesn't change, there will be no communication with Benton County Central Communications.
"It's a superior radio system, but it's expensive," he said, explaining that AWIN is short for the Arkansas Wireless Information Network, a statewide, multiple site, digital communication system designed for use by public service entities. "I'm meeting with other chiefs to get ideas from them. Arkansas State Police are on that system. Benton County is going to that so everybody is going to have to switch."
"Basically, all of our radios will be no good," he said. "If we don't switch, we won't be able to communicate with CENCOM."
The only personnel change now is the promotion of Rich Fordham to detective sergeant, the position previously held by Hahn.
"Detective Fordham has more than 10 years of investigative and law enforcement experience. He has conducted hundreds of investigations, investigating virtually every type of major crime. He has a great deal of training and experience in interview and interrogation techniques and has taught the same at the police academy in Utah," Hahn said. "Detective Fordham has a commendation from the State of Utah Legislature and also a Purple Heart awarded by the State of Utah."
"He's (Fordham) got more investigative experience than all of us combined," Hahn said.
Hahn said he has visited with the mayor and an alderman and hopes to continue building relationships with department heads. He said he plans to "better line out responsibilities of each person" in the department. He said a lot of work had been put on hold while the department was waiting for the appointment of a chief.
"Morale is way up just because we have a leader," he said. "Being out there and being seen is going to make a big difference. I'm trying to be proactive. I've personally answered some things on Facebook."
Hahn said he's currently looking for a school resource officer. He wants to work closely with school officials and wants all officers to tour the school buildings.
"I do want to do a lot with the schools, those are our future parents, leaders," Hahn said. He said he is on the board for PAL (Police Athletic League) which works with youth and is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police which will sponsor Shop with a Cop.
"We hire really good people. We train then to do their job, so there is no reason to micromanage," Hahn concluded.
Hahn, who was jail captain for two years, knows what it is to deal with people who have problems. He said he's dealt with people who have mental illness and wants his officers better trained for dealing with that.
"I've never seen community support like I have here," he said. "I want to be accessible. This door (to his office) stays open. People can feel free to call or come by."
General News on 07/03/2019
Print Headline: Police protocol: Integrity, respect