Indiana Daily Student

Citizens learn hostage negotiation, crime prevention at citizen police academy

Captin Steve Kellams speaks at the Bloomington Police Department's Citizens Academy Tuesday afternoon. Topics disscussed during this session were about crime prevention and hostage negotiation.
Captin Steve Kellams speaks at the Bloomington Police Department's Citizens Academy Tuesday afternoon. Topics disscussed during this session were about crime prevention and hostage negotiation.

Bloomington Police Department Sgt. Lucas Tate laid his bulletproof vest, bullhorn and other hostage negotiation gear on a table in front of 13 civilians Tuesday night.

Each person had signed up for the Bloomington Citizen’s Police Academy, an 11-week program that will meet every Tuesday to showcase police techniques for different situations.

BPD Capt. Steve Kellams, Sgts. Pam Gladish and Tate educated citizens on everything from police data to hostage negotiation and crime prevention at this event.

Gladish said this program is a great opportunity for the community to understand what BPD does in different situations.

“These are all the things we could use on a daily basis,” Gladish said.

Kellams let attendees know just how helpful and easily available data on policing and crimes is for everyone. Kellams said it is essential for BPD to be efficient in community policing and what he called intelligence-led policing.

“To prevent crime, I have to understand it,” Kellams said.

Kellams said intelligence-led policing is all about understanding where crime happens and how often it happens and using that data to prevent crimes. Kellams compared this type of policing to fishing on the lake.

“I have to go fishing where the fish are,” Kellams said. “That’s where I’m going to put my people.”

Gladish confirmed this and said if a criminal finds two out of three cars on a certain block are unlocked, he will probably come back. With limited manpower, less than 100 active duty officers, Kellams said BPD can’t be everywhere.

Police and crime data shows police where patterns of crimes happen and is available to the public through the City of Bloomington website.

Kellams said BPD has moved to a transparent approach to help foster an understanding with the community. Anyone can take the raw data on the website and analyze it.

“If you like numbers, have fun with it.” Kellams said.

Community policing is about making sure BPD officers are known to community members. Kellams said when he worked the night shift he knew almost every convenience store clerk and newspaper boy.

“Just get to know the people.” Kellams said.

Gladish said through groups like the neighborhood watch, downtown resource officers and social media, BPD ensures the community knows about recent crimes and breaking news and is familiar with BPD officers.

DROs function as assistance for those in the downtown portion of Bloomington who are in danger either emotionally or mentally. They are identified by their white, short-sleeve uniforms.

Gladish said sometimes people say they do not want to talk to a regular BPD officer and ask for a white shirt to help them instead. DROs work with people to calm them down and then often help homeless and others in getting help and resources.

Kellams said BPD has some of the most well-trained officers in the country and he is one of the people that goes around training police officers across the country.

“I’ll take our guys and put them up against theirs any day any time,” Kellams said.

Gladish spoke next on the importance of crime prevention and BPD efforts to reach out to the community for that purpose.

It is vital that information be shared in order to prevent crime, Gladish said.

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