Episode #008 - Join us for our first Community Highlight episode where we introduce you to local leaders throughout the metroplex! In this episode we visit with Burleson Police Chief Billy Cordell. Chief Cordell joined the Burleson Police Department as Police Chief in 2014 and has extensive experience in law enforcement. Join us as we get to know Chief Cordell and learn about our local Police Department in Burleson, Texas. (https://youtu.be/cDzrShg0DrM)
Chief Cordell’s Bio: Billy J. Cordell was sworn in as Burleson’s tenth police chief on June 2, 2014. He retired as a deputy chief from the Fort Worth Police Department where he served since 1985. The Burleson Police Department consists of sixty-four sworn officers and twenty-one civilian support staff. Chief Cordell has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master's degree in Criminal Justice from Tarleton State University, holds a Masters Peace Officers Certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, and graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2000. Chief Cordell is a strong advocate for building community partnerships and believes these relationships form the foundation for trust and accountability. He embraces the Community Policing philosophy and understands the servant role of law enforcement. Chief Cordell notes, “It is an honor and a privilege to serve as Burleson’s Police Chief.”
Links from this episode:
Coffee purchased from Dwell Coffee & Biscuits: http://www.dwellcoffeeandbiscuits.com
Link to Burleson Police Department Website: https://www.burlesontx.com/76/Police-...
Information for Burleson Citizens on Patrol: https://www.burlesontx.com/281/COP-Pr...
Information for Community Resource Officers: https://www.burlesontx.com/269/Commun...
Information for Citizens Police Academy: https://www.burlesontx.com/267/Citize...
Episode #008 REN Podcast Transcription (Chief Billy Cordell)
Jason: All Right. Good afternoon everybody. This is Jason Reynolds with the ‘Real Estate Now Podcast’ and I know you guys have been watching some of our recent podcasts and we decided to start doing a community edition of this podcast and try to interview local leaders. That way, you can get to know folks and we are lucky today; we have Burleson police Chief Billy Cordell with us. How are you doing?
Billy: I am doing great Jason, thanks for having me.
Jason: Yeah. You bet. So I have got a really long bio and there is way too much here but, you jumped in as the Burleson police chief on June 2nd 2014.
Billy: That’s correct.
Jason: So it would be running up on 4 years just coming up in a few days. He got his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Texas Wesleyan, master’s degree in criminal justice from Tarleton. Masters Peace Officers Certificate from the Texas Commission on Law enforcement and then, you graduated from the FBI National Academy in 2000.
Billy: That’s correct.
Jason: I just noticed too that you have a lifesaving award from the Fort Worth PD in 1989.
Billy: Yes, I had a few things in Fort Worth. I actually started my law enforcement career in Everman as a reserve back in 1983.
Billy: I went to Fort Worth full time in 1985. I retired out of there and came here technically May 31st 2014 and took over.
Jason: Came over here?
Billy: Yeah. Burleson is a great community, great citizens, great place to work and awesome team of people.
Jason: Perfect. To get to know you a little bit you just mentioned that you were in Everman. How do you end up in Burleson, Texas? What is your quick track of being in Law enforcement? If there is a quick track. (1:46)
Billy: 30 years is not necessarily a quick track but I started as reserve in Everman and really enjoyed law enforcement, I decided to go into it full time. I wanted to go into a large department so I went to Fort Worth and was fortunate enough to get selected to go. I spent 30 years there working uniformed or undercover back in uniform, undercover and different things. I got to work in K-9 for four-and-a-half years. I got a German Shepard that I worked with every single day, which was a lot of fun. I started promoting up, I was a detective for a little while then I promoted up to supervisor and then lieutenant to captain and retired as a deputy chief.
Jason: Are you from the DFW area originally? Were you born here? (2:42)
Billy: No, I wasn’t born here. My dad was in the military so I was born up in Oklahoma. Don’t hold that up against me but I was born up in Oklahoma and I moved here when he got reassigned back when it was Carswell Air Force base. I was about 2 years old so I went to Weatherford high school and we lived there. I moved to Fort Worth to start my law enforcement career.
Jason: What inspired you to get to law enforcement? What it your dad being in the military? Or was it some other thing? (3:06)
Billy: That is weird. I don’t know that I had a clear path, I was always kind of fascinated by it. I was around a few officers growing up and I liked what they did. Really, it’s more about service and serving the community. I decided that I wanted to do something and I felt like I can make a difference in people’s lives, help them when times were tough and we get called when things are not going good. That evolved from there and I thought, “Well, I would just ease into this as a reserve officer” once I got into it, I thought, “This is what my life is about. This is my career”, that is what inspired me to go into full time at Fort Worth.
Jason: Awesome. We just left the new Burleson PD headquarters. I did a Burleson leadership academy and when we held that, it was at the old headquarters downtown. When did you all move? What has that done for you, in terms of the department? (3:55)
Billy: Fort Worth is no different than Burleson to the world. Usually, you have a place that has been around for a long time and I think that there were in this building for 30-something years. It used to be a post office prior to that.
Billy: I had been added onto a few times and we had people that were in closets and making offices out of those.
Jason: Yeah, I remember how small those were.
Billy: Those was small spaces. Our elected officials and our city management looked at it and said we need to expand. They did all sorts of funding for these projects and I appreciate everything that they did. This vision began before I got here but they put everything on hold and when I got here, we went back to everything with the plans, made a few changes, added a community room to the building. It was just time to expand and we have got some really nice spaces in there; we have a community room that our community can come in and reserve. Let us say you have a neighborhood association or a group of folks that we partner with. We do our citizens police academy training in there or our cops training and faith-based partnerships and so many other things that we do.
The facility itself has given us a lot better space. We have a training room in there, we are partnering with a lot of other agencies to advance training in there. The facility is phenomenal and we are just really blessed to have it.
Jason: For those that don’t know, can you remind us where the new headquarters are at? (5:36)
Billy: Yeah. It is on Wilshire. It is very visible. Wilshire & Elk 1161 southwest Wilshire Boulevard. You really can’t miss it, it has got a 27-something foot tall edge.
Jason: And a huge badge on the front.
Billy: And the front windows, which obviously is a very visible location. From that regard, we have a lot of visitors that pass by every day and can stop there and ask questions or drop of prescription drugs. We have a ‘drug take back’ box in there and a lot of different things to interact with our community.
Jason: It is definitely more visible than the last one.
Jason: Next door used to be Wells Fargo but I noticed that it has changed to a municipal court.
Jason: Is that open now? (6:16)
Billy: It is actually open January this year. January 1st or 2nd, whenever they came back from the new year. Around the time we started construction, we got wind that Wells Fargo was closing that location so the city was able to purchase that, which gave us a pretty big amount of land behind there. It gave us that whole block so it really has worked out well. They have got a phenomenal facility over there and really is much more visible and user friendly for them as well.
Jason: Where was that before?
Billy: It was actually in a lease space out in a county building across from Burleson high school. Where you go get your license plate renewed, that is where it was.
Jason: Okay, so it’s since moved.
Billy: That’s correct.
Jason: For folks to know the size of the department here in town, can you talk about what the size was when you jumped in? Has it grown since in terms of the amount on the force? (7:06)
Billy: It was 62 when I got here and it’s about 64-65 sworn and 21 civilian employees. The departments in Fort Worth are obviously a much larger organization. Burleson and every other law enforcement agency is expected to do the same things that you would expect in a large city. You just have to do it differently and for me, that was a transition of coming in and learning how we don’t have 3 SWAT teams that you can call for something but we have a great SWAT team and they are all patrol officers.
Jason: Double duty.
Billy: So everybody there wears a lot of hats. You get the same thing accomplished, you just use less people.
Jason: I was going to ask you; how many motorcycles? (8:11)
Jason: I noticed that sometimes I see the SUV driving around as the citizen’s patrol.
Jason: What do you have to do to be on that? What do they do? (8:18)
Billy: There are two different groups of people; citizens on patrol and the citizen’s police academy alumni association (CPA) as I refer to them. If you want to know a lot more about our department, you come in and sign up. I think it is a 7-week course. What we do is that we have our community resource officers getting together and they teach this class. It really gives you a more in-depth look at our department so that you understand some of the things that we do. We have people from SWAT come and talk to you. Formal negotiators, we take you over - Mansfield lets us use a simulator house - a shoot and don’t shoot simulator. We go over and do things like that. We would do simulated traffic stops and we really get to see things from the eyes of our employees, who are out working the streets. Talk to them, get to know them better. That is an in-depth look.
Then the cops program is our ‘citizen’s on patrol’ and that is the SUV that you see. They go through a little extra training and they go out, check out that car and drive through the neighborhoods and work with our community resource officers to be able to say, “We have got some crime trends in this neighborhood or this neighborhood, can you give me some visibility in there”. They become the eyes and ears of our department in working closely with the officers and you see them a lot. All those groups out at. Hot sounds of summer, all the different events that we have. They are out, very visible and are doing charts and helping people, directing traffic.They put in an enormous amount of volunteer hours every year and it is just a tremendous benefit to our city.
Jason: If anybody wanted to do the police academy. I am assuming you have to be a resident of Burleson to apply or how does that… (10:03)
Billy: That is preferable for us in turning the benefit around but I don’t think that is absolute. For the CPA, if you want to come out, I don’t think anyone is going to worry too much about it.
Jason: Got you. Is there a cost associated with the time?
Jason: What is it usually?
Billy: It is really a time cost, that is what it is to them. Usually, the classes are on Thursdays, you go through 7 of them. They are probably about 2-3 hours depending on what we are doing that night. People walk away with a much better appreciation and understanding of what our officers do every day and you can come and ride in with our officers and see different shifts. You can ride on day shifts and then you can turn around and ride on midnight shifts. The midnight shifts are very different.
Jason: You see a whole different…
Billy: Yeah. They can learn a whole lot about what goes on within the city, talk to our officers about the city but it is building relationship for us. It is just building great relationships.
Jason: I am assuming that there is information on the Burleson PD website.
Billy: Yes. The Burleson PD website. You can go into the community groups and look for our ‘citizens police academy’ or our ‘citizens on patrol’. Our community resource officer is Tiffany Bauereisen who coordinates all of that and does a tremendous job at it.
Jason: We will make sure to include a link in the description for folks.
Billy: Thank you.
Jason: Talking about Burleson crime. One thing I have always loved, I have heard the mayor say this many times - our population is increasing, yet our crime is still decreasing. Is that still accurate? (11:23)
Billy: Last year, we had a little bit of an increase in our part 1 crime. Crime is categorized into two different ways. Part 1 is considered the more violent crime and thefts and things like that as categorized by the FBI. The part 2 crime still categorized by the FBI. These are things like, drugs, fraud, forgery. Those types of offences, they are different types of offences. The more serious ones are the part 1. We had an increase in the part 1 offenses last year, which is the first one we have had in quite a while. This year, right now, crime has backed down, we are having a decrease. When you talk about the mayor and I listened to when he was talking to the chamber at a different event about the population going up. You should been seeing a compatible rise with the crime when the population increases but we have not been seeing that. We have been fortunate but there is always room to improve on things.
There are things that we have control over. When I say control, I am talking about prevention as opposed to things that you might not have as much control over. Thefts, burglary motor vehicles, I would talk about burglary motor vehicles as an example. You park your car in front of your house and you leave property in it. There is always someone out looking to take advantage of opportunities. They are going to come in there and they are going to burst your window. In Burleson, it drives me nuts; they’ll leave a car unlocked and they would leave a laptop, a purse, a gun and all kinds of things in there. Those are things that we can have an impact on. It is kind of like fishing; you never go back to a place where you never caught fish. You always go back to where you catch fish. If they continue to be successful and coming in and burglarizing…
Jason: They are going to keep coming back.
Billy: They are going to keep coming back. That is on us to try; we put videos out, we are going to look at making another one and try to educate people. While Burleson is still a very safe community, we don’t want to open that door.
Jason: You don’t want it to have a reputation.
Jason: In terms of talking about crime rate. As you said, it is not increasing as much as the population is increasing overall. What are the things that the police department is doing to stay on top of this? Also, with current times, trying to stay on top of culture and some of the things you were talking about before. (13:50)
Billy: We have a crime analyst. We hired one. We had a crime analyst retire so we hired another lady that used to work for Arlington PD. She comes in and she evaluates our crime every day. Whatever offenses come in, she would evaluate what is going on. We meet every Wednesday morning at 9 am. We meet in the morning to look at the previous weeks crimes. We are all discussing the crimes and where we are seeing the increase. If we have a trend in burgles motor vehicles, thefts or somethings. We can re-adjust where are resources are. On occasion, we bring people in on overtime that are dedicated to that particular neighborhood that we have seen an increase in burgled motor vehicles. We do that often.
We would push that information. We would come out earlier to our cops groups and say, “We are seeing some increases over here” whether it be a theft. People leave their garage doors open and people would come in and steal their alarm or something. That is part of what cops look for when they get a call to the house. “Your garage door is open. You know that” most times, they just forgot. We are always looking at our crime and trying to redeploy resources in direction that help us with our crime trends.
Jason: You were mentioning training as an addition to what you are already receiving. Can you go on to what that development is? (15:30)
Billy: About a year-and-a-half ago. I met with a few of our city leaders, citizens. I said, I have this vision of starting a Burleson police foundation. I threw a pitch out to them and they embraced it wholeheartedly. All 5 of them that originally met are still on the board and we have increased that board. They raised money for mainly three goals; one is to support our entire department officers and civilians in our annual award banquets, which honors outstanding service from our staff. The second things is training. The third thing is equipment over and beyond, what you would expect the normal city budget to purchase. To give an example, we just put together for our open house, we out together a board that shows some kinds of things that they paid for. 896 hours so far, they paid for in training. This is like the de-escalation of mental health issues, autism and law enforcement, violence against women, mental health, peace officers courses and so many other things that we are training over and beyond what you would expect.
Our society doesn’t always have the answers for mental health issues and we have got plenty of mental health issues. You heard it after the Dallas shooting when the then chief David Brown said a lot of larger societal issues are laid at the feet of the law enforcement because they don’t have anybody else to handle it. We spent an enormous amount of time dealing with people that have challenges in mental health. There are people that have PHD’s and they deal with these issues in a sterile environment. We are going out when someone is spiraling at a bad time in their life and we are dealing with it out in a raw environment. In their house, they probably have access to weapons and things like that; it can be a knife, a gun or something. In the academy, you get 40 hours roughly of mental health training. That’s nothing compared it to PHD. We got to get better at what we are doing and to deal and de-escalate situations like this, that is where the foundation comes into play.
Jason: I think that is great. How can people support the foundation? (17:57)
Billy: You can go to the Burlesonpolicefoundation.org. It is a website, there is a donate button on there. The board of directors, if you live in Burleson and shop in Burleson, you probably recognize a lot of these folks. Great business leaders within our community and they do so much for us in raising money. They got a great understanding of our department and we meet on a monthly basis. On the first Tuesday of the month, we meet and discuss issues. The latest thing they have purchased is, we just purchased a ‘DJI Matrice 210 drone. That thing was a little over $11,000 and they raised the funding to purchase that.
Billy: That is really going to help our department in a lot of ways. It’s fun stuff they are doing.
Jason: Is it a drone program that you have? (18:45)
Jason: What do you use that for?
Billy: With the purchase of that drone, I just finished deploying. It is a lengthy process about a week ago through the FAA. You have to have a certificate of authorization to be able to have within, like we have Spink’s Airport to be able to fly commercially like we’re doing as a law enforcement agency. A lot of rules on that. We would send our folks through the drone pilot school and they would go through the testing, a knowledge based testing on the part 107 through the FAA. We would start a drone program. Drones are so much more popular in law enforcement. They are everywhere but in law enforcement, they get somebody that is lost. It has a real gamble system, it has a nice camera and it has a flare on it that can pick up heat signature.
Jason: Oh wow!
Billy: You get someone that leaves and goes from a stolen vehicle for example out into a field, hiding. You can out that drone up and locate them very quickly. Lost kids, lost adults too. The technology is phenomenal and it keeps evolving. If you had a homicide in the field area for example, you can take that drone up and map that same… I am being told, there is software now for mapping accidents. Let’s say you had a fatality accident on I-35, you can take that drone up and map that accident scene.
Jason: Take a photo.
Billy: Yes. You don’t have to close the freeway down and that is awesome because usually when we have a fatality accident, the freeway is going to be closed for 2-3 hours.
Jason: Wow! We were talking about this beforehand; the drone is $11,000 versus how much is a helicopter now days? (20:25)
Billy: It depends on what you want to buy and how much you want to spend. The last I checked, it was about 1.5 million for the bell jet ranger. It maybe more than that now. Then you pay…
Jason: Operational expenses.
Billy: Operational expenses, personal expenses and things. For a smaller department, there is just no way you can afford that. The drone gives you some advantages that you did not have in clearing fields and things like that. It is a neat program. Law enforcement agencies across the country are getting involved in the drone programs.
Jason: One thing I saw on Facebook maybe a year ago. A lot of people do transactions on Facebook or Craigslist in terms of exchanging goods. I thought I read something about the police department parking lot being a safe zone for that. (21:11)
Billy: Yeah. As safe as safe can be. We put an exchange zone up there. There are cameras that monitor it.
Jason: The whole front area?
Billy: The front left side of it in particular is where we want you to come in and do your exchange. That goes for if you are buying something off a social media site and coming there and exchange it. If they don’t want to meet you at the police department.
Jason: There is something wrong.
Billy: There is a red flag. Also, we have the child custody issues. We have several people that have come in there and exchange their children on their days to have the children for the week. We actually made an arrest off of one. They came in to do an exchange and I am going to give you a little hint; if you are coming in to exchange children, number one, don’t hit. Never ever hit your spouse but don’t do it in a police parking lot on camera because it is going to get you arrested.
Jason: Yes, quick response time at that.
Jason: That is under 24/7 surveillance?
Jason: Say an altercation happened there, there is somebody in the police department?
Billy: Communications is always in there, they can get an officer. There is not always someone in the department. They may be doing reports and things. A lot of times they are but for the most part, we want them out in the communities and driving out on the street and things but the communications is always there.
Jason: Always there. Okay. Alright guys, we are going to hop out and support Dwell and get a cup of coffee and we will be back in just a minute.
Okay guys, we got our Dwell fix back in the car. We are going to continue on for just a few more minutes. Another question that I had written down and is interesting is… I have never known the answer to this. Say somebody needs help or is in a situation and they need to call 911. They call from their cell phone, is there a way that you guys can tell a location from a cell phone? Are you reliant upon the person at the other end to give a location? (23:11)
Billy: Great question. We are still at this point reliant upon them giving us the information of where they are. So it is important to always know where you are. We can ping phones but that is not an easy process. An easy process is you being to explain to us where you are. The other thing with cell phones depending on where you are as to what tower that hits. You maybe in the county and it goes to the county but you are needing Burleson PD but that can be transferred through technology. That phone number can be transferred to the appropriate agency depending on where you are. Especially if you are out in a rural area, it is extremely important to know where you are.
Jason: To know where you are.
Jason: Say you are in a rural area, is it possible to pull up your maps app on your phone and give GPS coordinates.
Billy: You can do that and communications can narrow that down. You should be able to do that.
Jason: My other question was; do you know off the top of your head what typical response time to any type of altercation or anything in the city? (24:32)
Billy: Not off the top of my head can I give you the exact time. It depends on the nature of you call, as to how it is prioritized. Everything has a priority to it so if you calling and it’s a life threatening event, somebody has a gun or is trying to kick into your house, shots are being fired, a knife or something like that. That jumps to the top of the list on prioritization and we get there very quick. Then goes down from there if you had a burglary at your home.
Jason: And they are no longer there.
Billy: And they are no longer there. A burglary on your car, theft or something like that. It goes down. That just makes common sense. We are not going to send somebody to a theft call when there is no suspect on the scene when all of a sudden, you have a major incidence a shooting or something like that. That is what is always going to take priority.
Jason: That is usually when you see the sirens on. If there is a life threatening type of emergency? (25:39)
Billy: We are initially different from my past experience. We still respond lights and sirens to major accidents. Especially those on the freeway because you look out on 35 speed limits 70, you get somebody coming in from across a hill over in Renfro area - that can really compound and it’s very dangerous. So we send people to major accidents that are blocking the roadway, we will send those codes. We try to limit the number of times we run lights and sirens because it is dangerous for officers, it is dangerous for our citizens that panic a lot of times when that happens.
Jason: Are there any other things that you mentioned where the crime that was seen in the area is unlocked cars and maybe that is where Burleson used to be. It’s was a quiet little town and it is changing. Are there things that when you are talking to the Burleson community, you would recommend just people to stay at watch for? (26:22)
Billy: Knowing your surroundings and understanding parking if you are out at night. Parking in a well-lit area and paying attention to who is maybe in a car or does not look like they have a purpose. They come up and try to make small talk. Those are some red flags, you gotta be cautious. The bottom line is; if your stomach makes you feel like this isn’t right then go with that gut feeling and don’t put yourself in a bad position. Educate your kids because your kids are vulnerable. A 16-year old is out driving, they are vulnerable. I used to tell my kids, “Nothing good happens after midnight, go home” they did a pretty good job. As they got older, they got…
Jason: Nothing good happens after 9.
Billy: Maybe on the news maybe but that is about it. You have to be aware of your surroundings. Use good common sense. If you are female, don’t go out…. This is for males too but especially females, don’t go out jogging out in the night by yourself in a secluded area. You elevate your risk of being a victim and I would be amiss if I didn’t talk about domestic violence. We talked about part 1 offenses and domestic violence is such a serious problem in this country. It is a whole lot more prevalent than gets reported to police. It starts simple, it may start with verbal abuse and then it turns into physical. What you see in domestic violence is an escalation; there is a history, you can point this out to the Mayor that you are going to be visiting with tomorrow. There is an enormous amount to statistical data to support domestic violence and it escalates.
I would give you an example; Burleson is the first city in the nation to pass a strangulation ordinance. You might say, “That is kind of weird. Why is that?” The ordinance isn’t imposing sanctions on the suspect, it is imposing sanctions on our city. The difference in this is that is that this ordinance forces our officers when they are out on the scene and they find that strangulation has occurred, the ordinance kicks in and they have to call the medical team, the fire department and the ambulance to that scene. Because the history is showing that when you are strangling someone, the lethality of that… I cannot get the numbers of the top of my head but the risk of being seriously injures goes way up.
What is interesting about police and how we have been training. The re-acclamation for us is; show me the bruise, show me the abrasion, show me the blood and that is how I categorize the level of offense against you. A broken arm is a different category than a bloody nose. What we are finding out with strangulation is that so much damage can be done. Some of it, permanent damage and it won’t even leave a mark because it doesn’t take a lot to damage the throat area. We call the medical professionals out there to do the medical evaluation to make sure you are trying to help that because there has been some very serious cases that occurs a few days later off of strangulation.
Jason: It wasn’t noticed
Billy: It wasn’t noticed, so we are trying to bring awareness to a strangulation and if you are willing to put your hands around someone’s throat and strangle them, you are a very dangerous person. I would give an example, last year, we had 4 homicides and Burleson does not have many homicides. We had 4 homicide last year and 50% of those, 2 of those were strangulation offenses.
Billy: You don’t realize and we are looking at that and going, Wow! What can we do to make a difference and protect primarily women and anybody. Trying to protect and educate. They might start out small and punch you and you think, “I am not calling the police” and the suspect gets away with it or they get a hand slap or something like that. Then you come back and they escalate that. We are trying to intervene at that smallest level, trying to get help to people and route them to services like ‘women’s haven’, ‘one safe place’ and so many other partnerships that can help intervene and not let these escalate because they often escalate into homicides.
Jason: One thing I just thought about as you were talking; does Burleson have a problem with folks calling 911 for non-emergency calls? (31:29)
Billy: No. it is amazing what people define as emergency.
Jason: The dispatch kind of determines that.
Billy: Yeah. Really, it goes into the same place. Our community resource officers are great a great resource for our citizens. We have 4 of them, when we are fully staffed. We are not fully staffed in that area right now but we have 4 of them that are responsible for geographic areas; north, south, east and west. Then they have big ticket items; one of them is over faith-based partnerships. Our ministers and officers for greater Burleson. The rest of them help to support but this one is the lead on that. One of them is over the ‘citizen’s police academy’, cops and so forth and so on. Get to know you CRO and your community resource officer. Get to know them in your neighborhood because they can become and invaluable resource for you in trying to find out the non-emergency things as opposed to even having to call the dispatch. 817-426-9903 is our non-emergency number. It is answered by the same folks.
Jason: You are talking about the CRO’s (community resource officers) and they have different regions that they cover. How would somebody look whomever that person is up? (32:48)
Billy: You can do a couple of things; you can go to the website and there is information on the website. Again, you can go into community resources and you will see the information on the CRO’s and what they do. When we put them together and they has 2 CRO’s before I started here and we expanded that to 4 when I got here because I know the value that they can bring to the community as a resource. In being able to say, “Hey, help me with this problem going on. Help me with these issues we are having in our neighborhood” that is where they become invaluable. You know, it is not something you will call 911 on but it is something that we need some help and we need some guidance on this. That is what the CRO is all about. They are a great resource. If you have community meetings, if you are not connected with this already and you have got neighborhood meeting and community meetings, invite our CRO’s to that. They can talk to you about crime, hey can pull stats for your neighborhood and talk specifics with you.
Jason: Okay. That is great and it is probably a whole lot easier for folks who live in HOA because they have a connection to a CRO; versus neighborhoods that don’t, those are the people who want to look up.
Billy: I don’t remember this as a statistics quote a some time ago but it talked about… when I was getting my masters degree at Tarleton. It talked about when a neighborhood is organized, when they know their neighbors and when they have a relationship with the police, their crime rate in that neighborhood is a lot lower.
This is your area; this is where you live. You want to be connected with the police department. We have the community room that sits about 35 people. If your HOA wants to come up, reserve this and say, “We want to meet with our CRO. We want to meet with a crime analyst. We want to meet with the chief” we would set that up; you can count me in and we will all sit together and talk about your community in particular. We can pull up the stats on your community. What are the driving forces behind that and we can show you some of the things that we are trying to do in that area. This is all about serving the public. That is what we do; we don’t sell widgets, this is what we do. We want to partner with our community and be able to reach. All the different demographics, age groups, man these kids, partnering with them and we are going to set up a video in the distant future of being stopped by police. That is applicable to anyone especially our youth. You are going to get nervous; a police car gets behind you and those lights come on, you are going to be nervous but there are some things you can do to de-escalate that situation.
If it is night time. You are reaching under a seat and trying to find a wallet. You are trying to get a wallet for the driver’s license and stuff or insurance. What our officer back there sees and perceives is; you are either hiding dope or you got a gun, a knife or something. That automatically puts us on edge. Turning that interior light on, getting your hands up at 10 o’clock and just leave them on the wheel. If you have the license to carry, which plenty of people in Burleson have, and you got your weapon with you before you ever reach it, let that officer communicate. ”I have a license security and my wallet in my console and so is my gun” de-escalate that not all of a sudden you open up that console and start reaching for a gun.
Jason: And he sees a gun.
Billy: It can put a bad situation and make it worse real quick.
Jason: We are running on 40 minutes and it’ll probably 30. It’s about time but based on our conversation, we will include some links in the podcast. That way, folks that are watching this, if you want to access to be able to reach your CRO and look at the citizen’s police academy. All that would be in the notes. We are right off from memorial day so we want to be sure to thank you and your team for your service, and what they do for Burleson. (36:24)
Billy: Memorial day, a lot of people look at it like a holiday but it is such an amazing day when you think about it. Our military, over a million people sacrificed their lives in protection of this country and protection of our freedom that we get to enjoy today. We always want to remember our debt to the military. My dad, retired out of the air force so I always have a special place for the Military in my heart. That is a great group of people.
Jason: Thank you for taking for taking the time chief.
Jason: Appreciate it.
Jason: Thank you sir.