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Public Safety

Nationally recognized for excellence http://www.n-r-c.com/2014vopwinners/

Town of Weston, Massachusetts

on 13 November 2014

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Transcript of Public Safety

Weston Police Department
While our town's population is a little over 11,500, there are approximately 250,000 cars driving through on a daily basis due to two major highways and two state by-passes intersecting Weston. The crime rate is low because the Police Department makes a point of being seen in prominent areas of town, as well as driving through neighborhoods.

The Police Department conducts its business as usual as the face of the community. The Department is staffed by caring and dedicated officers who take this responsibility as their top priority and are involved in every aspect of the community.

A Community Service Officer is highly visible in the schools and in the senior center.

A recently enacted dog by-law provided for the licensing and regulating of commercial dog walkers to better control dogs on the Town’s extensive trail system. In addition, a part time Animal Control Officer has been employed to oversee dog and other animal-related issues and to educate the public on local regulations.
Community Safety
Working under strong leadership, the Weston Police Department has great inner-office communication between all aspects of the department to ensure vital information is shared.

The Town utilizes a reverse 911 phone system, which is used only in emergency situations, such as severe weather precautions and recovery or with information on warming/cooling stations.

The Police work with the Fire Department on serving the vulnerable populations, as well as serving on the Emergency Management team and developing the town-wide and school emergency plan.

The Weston Police Chief is a member of the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) and participates in the STARS (School Threat Assessment and Response System) program, which coordinates the efforts of NEMLEC, Weston Public School Superintendent, and the Weston Fire Chiefs to coordinate school violence prevention, reduction, intervention and response efforts.

Other initiatives of the Police Department include:
Prescription Drug Take-Back Program – a depository is provided in the police lobby and promotes a semi-annual drive to collect unwanted prescription pills - 50 lbs has been collected since inception
Car Seat Safety Check Program
Traffic safety plans and assistance for various civic and community events (road races, bike rides, school events), as well as serving on the Town's Traffic and Sidewalk Committee and the Weston Health Advisory Council
Annual shredding event open to residents
Interaction with the Town's clergy to help disseminate information
Juvenile Diversion plan - working with the District Attorney to educate rather than punish
Active Shooter Training

Why Do We Rank So High?
The Police maintain a constant, positive public presence from meet and greet booths at community events to public education events. Officers attend summer camps to show off equipment and rescue demonstrations, as well as hosting high school internships.

Officers are involved with many community groups from Boy Scouts to parent groups and are heavily involved with the schools and parents in promoting safety and smart choices, especially in the High School.

Officers meet with residents at the senior center to discuss ways to protect against fraud and scams; advice which is also shared online. The Weston Police Department has a strong online presence, utilizing social media to share important information about traffic and road conditions, scams and suspicious activity in town, as well as weather and crime safety tips.

The Police Department also organizes the annual Toys for Tots.
Weston Fire Department
Emergency Management
Emergency Management is lead by the Fire Chief who designed and implemented the "Community Emergency Preparedness and Response Guide," which is also available on the Public Safety section of the website. The Emergency Management team also helps develop the Town-wide and School emergency response plan.

This Guide was created to assist Weston residents in preparing their own emergency plans, and addresses special planning needs for children, seniors, special needs individuals, and pets.

Also working with Emergency Management is the Weston Emergency Reserve Corps (WERC), which consists of more than 70 residents and was initiated by the Board of Health to create a group of volunteer residents who can be mobilized in the event of a community or regional emergency. Regular training exercises are held in order to foster the engagement and continued interest of these important volunteers, who are used annually to conduct a flu vaccination clinic and participate in community events to educate and engage the public in the area of emergency planning.
Why Do We Rank So High?
The department is staffed by compassionate employees who are customer-service driven and for whom their top priority is the safety and well-being of residents.

Basic life support ambulance service is provided by the Department, but the paramedic service is provided regionally in a collaboration with 8 other towns. This ensures that residents receive the highest quality emergency medical care with the fastest possible response time, as well as allowing the department access to superior training equipment.

Prevention is key and as such, several educational outreach programs have been instituted. Both Fire and Police meet regularly with the Council on Aging staff as a means of open communication on the town’s most vulnerable population, as well as meeting with school faculty and other community groups on issues of safety, fire prevention, and emergency preparedness. Both departments frequently visit the senior center patrons and in the schools speaking to safety, prevention and planning.

Seasonal safety and prevention tips (such as spring thaw gas leaks and severe weather preparation), fire prevention tips, and emergency planning reminders are posted under the Public Safety section of the website, as well as on the department's Facebook page and Twitter account.

The Department is also vigilant about utilizing social media to announce hazardous road conditions, such as downed power lines.
The Weston Fire Department is always looking to improve its service to the community and for opportunities to reach out and be present.

The Department works to keep ahead of technological advancements through continued training through the regional paramedic service.

With 25% of the Town's population being elderly, the Department is looking at new programming for in-home care and wellness.
The Weston Police Department will be getting a new station in 2015, which will provide an opportunity to increase programming and service to the community.

Such service includes filing accident reports electronically, gun safety courses for those applying for a license to carry, cameras in the schools in the event of emergencies, an online link to a list of lost or stolen property, and mobile sign boards for public safety messages.

Additionally, the Department will be looking to use the local cable station to disseminate public safety information.
Weston's Fire and Police departments emphasize caring service to residents, with no issue being too small for response.
The Fire Department maintains a very high level of visibility in the community through a variety of public outreach programs, safety education, and social interactions - engaging all aspects of the community. Residents know who they are and how well they are protected.

The department engages every aspect of the community - from senior in-home safety, to child safety through parent organizations.

The Fire Department also sponsors the annual Fishin' Derby, Santa Ride, tours of the station, school and camp visits so kids can touch a truck, and is present at community events for general meet and greets.

The Department also has a very prominent presence online by posting public safety news and tips on the website, Facebook and Twitter; fire prevention videos on its YouTube channel; and in the field photos and cautionary advice are posted nearly every week.
Full transcript