"You see the old Norman Rockwell painting of the officer sitting there at the soda fountain counter, with the little boy sitting next to him. That's local law enforcement!" -Casper Chief of Police Jim Wetzel
Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel starts a new initiative to get all of his officers specialized training. One aspect of the job he emphasizes is community affairs. News 13's Jeff Platt spoke with Chief Wetzel about the new initiative.
Wetzel said he got the idea from the united states armed forces and the main goal is to let the community know that even on smallest level Casper police officers do care.
In all cities across the nation police forces provide public services. Here in Casper, Chief Wetzel says in order to serve the citizens, you need to know who they are.
Wetzel said, "We police and provide services to the community so every singe one of our officers has to be community-oriented."
Doing so requires going above and beyond the call of duty.
Detective John Hatcher said, "It's very important to go out and not only take the calls, assist in coming out, but also get to know your community."
Law officers aren't always necessarily in the best situations to be making friends with the members of the community they usually see, but when they can reach out, it's always good for the department.
Wetzel said, "We just reap massive benefits from them and the relationships they're able to form, ant the interactions they have with the community."
One of those benefits is the public can be quite helpful when it comes to doing police work.
Hatcher said, "It makes it a lot easier if we have a good positive reaction from the public."
Part of Wetzel's motivation to start this initiative comes from a piece of artwork.
Wetzel said, "You see the old Norman Rockwell painting of the officer sitting there at the soda fountain counter, with the little boy sitting next to him. That's local law enforcement."
He doesn't only think that painting is a good definition of local law enforcement; Wetzel wants it to be the definition of Casper law enforcement.
Wetzel said, "That's what I expect from every single one of our officers. To have that investment to go out there and provide that quality of life."
Wetzel hopes community members will continue to be one of the Police Department's greatest assets and wants them to see the depart the same way. Chief Wetzel also says this is just one step in a much bigger process which should help put Casper PD's training dollars to more efficient use.