The 2013 Spring Grand Junction Citizen’s Academy has begun, and I have decided to take it this year and share with you a little of what I learn. The Citizen’s Academy is free and open to anyone who is interested in finding out firsthand how our first responder systems work. I will be writing a short article about what we do week by week for the 16 classes. Week Two was a facts and figures filled week with the guest speakers being the Grand Junction Police Departments Crime Analyst Chris Wilson and Police Commander Tim Grimsby.

Tom Freimann

As the police department’s Crime Analyst, Chris is responsible for going through every report from the public made online, the police service technicians in the front office, the officer’s reports made on the streets, and calls made to the 911 Communications center and tying together any and all incidents that may be related or connected to the same source. She looks for similar types of crimes, similar methods of perpetrating crimes, and similar evidence left or items taken in the same geographical area.  With this information, officers can watch certain areas or times for new crimes and they end up solving crimes that in the past were just written off as unsolvable.  You can help K do her jobs by reporting any isolated thefts or vandalism where a suspect is not known, and you can file a report right from your computer using the RIO system by clicking here, or in the future for to gjcity.org, then click Departments, then Police, then “File a Police Incident Report”. What you think is an isolated crime that happened to you alone, could have happened to 20 others the same night or week, and Chris’ job is to track the crimes and give officers ideas where to watch for new activity or ask the public if they saw anything in the area, so the police can arrest those responsible and get you restitution. But that only works if you report the crimes so Chris Wilson can get busy tracking them.

Tom Freimann

Our second speaker was 33-year Grand Junction Police Veteran Commander Tim Grimsby.  Commander Grimsby explained to us how the police department handles being a 24-hour, 365-days-a-year operating organization that has a wide variety of operations to conduct and different officer needs at different times of the day and different days of the week. The class was also informed how the department handles recruiting new officers, both online and in agency publications. Did you know it costs more than $118, 000 to recruit, train, uniform, and equip one new officer to be on the streets? The department, as I stated last week, is currently down about 10 officers, but have new recruits in various stages of the six month training period. They are also taking new applications online here, and will be testing this spring to add new recruits to the department. One thing that makes it easier to add officers to the police departments on the western slope is that the GJPD, along with the Mesa County Sherriff’s Department and Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College have created a local Police Academy at WCCC for recruits to get POST certified. Being Post certified makes your chances of getting hired better because the first and most important step in training is already completed.

Next Thursday will be a little more exciting as the class will be visiting the new 911 Grand Junction Regional Communications Center and learning what happens when someone picks up the phone and dials that 3 digit number that is most likely the first phone number any of us learned.