Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Patrick Smith is working hard to improve the image of the police department and to enhance communication with the community. His hope is to engage the community in the work of the department and to improve the quality of life for residents.

Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Patrick Smith is working hard to improve the image of the police department and to enhance communication with the community. His hope is to engage the community in the work of the department and to improve the quality of life for residents.

Training has been a priority for Chief Smith from day one, not only for his officers, but for himself. Over the last few months 20 officers and the chief himself have undergone training to improve their skills and enhance the department’s image.

Under a partnership with the Memphis Police Department, 20 officers took part in an 80-hour latent print training, conducted by the MPD’s Crime Scene Investigative Unit. The training included how to obtain prints on different surfaces and utilizing various techniques and chemicals to obtain them. At the end of the training participants were required to take and exam and had to pass with a 90 percent or better score.

Wal-Mart generously donated tackle boxes to hold the supplies and equipment needed to conduct this type of investigation.

Chief Smith recently graduated from the Chief Executive Leadership Program at South Police Institute at the University of Louisville. Topics that were covered included budgeting, how to deal with stakeholders, risk management, and strategic planning.

In addition to the recent training, the department has added six new recruits. Two officers came from Jonesboro and one from Memphis attended Remington College Criminal Justice program. The group is very diverse in educational background, military experience, age, and gender.

In an effort to improve awareness with in the community, the chief is a regular guest on KJIW, 94.5 radio. The “Chief’s Corner” covers topics that are of interest to the public and features updates of happenings within the department.

Chief Smith also aims to abide by the 21st Century Policing Model, which was established under the administration of former President Barack Obama. The model is intended to help communities and law enforcement agencies across the country to strengthen trust and collaboration, while continuing to reduce crime.