I have always been a supporter of law enforcement but I don't think that Bella Vista is ready for a multi-million-dollar police station. The crime rate is low here for several reasons not related to the current police department. The population is older and, unlike some urban communities, in most neighborhoods, people know one another and watch out for one another.
It's been my experience that the police department is not trained or equipped to respond to many of the needs of the community. Patrolling the streets and traffic regulation are very important roles of any local department but, in a community with an elderly population, there are many people who fall victim to scams and thieves. The local PD needs to be ready to respond, investigate and report such crimes to a prosecutor, and it has been my experience that Bella Vista is totally in the dark in this area.
I read about Chief Graves' recent speech in which he cited the low crime rate. I would argue that some of that might be due to a failure to report and investigate some criminal activities. When the department becomes a professional organization that includes effective traffic enforcement, crime prevention and investigation units, then we should consider building a professional station to house it. I don't think they are ready for it now.
The agency should be more prepared to respond to the needs of its citizens and this is a retirement community. In Bella Vista, elder care and abuse should be at the top of law enforcement's training background, especially in the areas of reporting and investigation. Let's build a team of professionals to staff a facility before we break ground on a multi-million-dollar building.
Bella VistaEditorial on 06/05/2019
Print Headline: Letter to Editor