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Sunday, October 24, 2021

What’s New at the Denton Police Department?

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To better meet the needs of everyone in our growing community, the Denton Police Department continues to make critical enhancements in how we serve you. While not an exhaustive list, a few recent changes and how they impact our community are highlighted below:

Proactive Enforcement Efforts

Denton PD continues to listen to and address areas of concern from residents, including violent crime and intoxicated drivers. As mentioned in the last edition of Resident Update, a proactive gun violence initiative has led to the seizure of numerous guns that were used during criminal offenses or were illegally possessed or carried. Violent offenses where a gun was displayed, used, or discharged continue to be thoroughly investigated and will not be tolerated in our community.

Additionally, Denton PD is committed to discouraging individuals from driving while intoxicated (DWI) through strategic prevention, enforcement, and prosecution. This would not be possible without the help of community members, as nearly half of DWI arrests in Denton occur after someone calls 911. Denton PD greatly appreciates the public’s assistance in addressing this issue and keeping our roads safe.

Denton PD remains committed to making Denton a safe, sustainable, and livable city for everyone, by keeping victims safe and holding offenders accountable.

Temporary Headquarters

As part of the voter-approved 2019 bond program, Denton PD has temporarily moved within City Hall East (601 E. Hickory St.) to Suite F. The Utilities Customer Service lobby is currently shared with Police while PD facilities are renovated. Visit this shared lobby to speak with an officer, request a police report, and more.

The Police Department’s drug disposal bin has also moved to the Customer Service lobby. If you have expired or unused medications at home, help prevent misuse by disposing of medications in the bin from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Launch of Co-Responder Mental Health Program

The Mental Health Division, led by a civilian program manager and a sergeant, is composed of the Homeless Outreach Team and the Crisis Intervention Response Team (CIRT). These teams aim to serve our most vulnerable community members with compassion and steadfastness by connecting those in a serious mental health crisis or experiencing homelessness with help.

This unit also strives to reduce arrests of people suffering from mental illness while increasing the likelihood they will receive mental health services. CIRT is a co-responder program that partners each officer with a clinician, who respond together in plain clothing. Since May, CIRT has been responding to calls and conducting follow-ups with positive feedback from those they serve.

The Mental Health Division, as well as Chief Frank Dixon and two patrol officers trained in crisis intervention, recently held a NAMIWalks event on the Square in support of mental health awareness.

Accreditation Process

The Police Department is currently seeking accreditation through the Texas Police Chiefs Association (TPCA) “Best Practices” Agency Recognition Program. To become accredited, Denton PD must comply with all 170 best practices identified by TPCA for law enforcement agencies. These best practices assist agencies like Denton PD in the efficient and effective delivery of service, the reduction of risk, and the protection of individuals’ rights. It is expected that Denton PD will achieve accreditation later this year.

Chief of Police Advisory Board

In the summer of 2020, the Denton City Council created an ad hoc use-of-force committee of community members to review Denton PD’s response-to-resistance policies and engage in dialogue. The committee held 10 meetings and concluded its work with a recommendation to create an advisory board to the Chief of Police.

The advisory board, which is composed of 11 voting members and five ex-officio members, began meeting in June. The advisory board’s purpose is to provide feedback, advice, and recommendations to the Police Chief in various areas, including policy, training, and community engagement.

The work of improving our service to the community is never done. In addition to these updates, the department’s priorities this year include enhancing outreach, conducting training on topics like fair and impartial policing and active bystandership, and strategically responding to family violence and other critical issues.

To learn more about your local police department, follow Denton PD on their social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor) and visit www.dentonpolice.com.

Source: City of Denton

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