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Olney Police Department updates

The Olney Police Department (OPD) has seen a number of changes in the previous month from uniforms to audits.

OPD will have a new look soon. A new seven-point star badge, campaign hats and traditional navy police uniforms. The department is trading in their shields for seven-pointed star badges. The seven points of the star have been attributed several characteristics over the years. They range from the numerological meaning of the number seven which refers to the perfection of God in a battle of good versus evil to each point bearing a significant attribute. According to Interim Chief Cross, the seven points on OPD’s star represent seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of God.

The new uniform and standards are part of OPD’s progress toward a disciplined and professional image at the department. The policy states, “[it is] extremely important that all employees project a positive and professional appearance at all times while on duty or representing the Olney Police Department.”

Following the investigation into former Chief Barry Roberts, Bohn and Associates recommended eight opportunities for improvement. Two recommendations during the internal investigation were to institute regular internal and external audits of the department and to request Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) ensure all requirements were met.

Interim Chief Cross requested an audit by the TCOLE in October. According to Cross, only two items were found to be deficient in the audit. One item was simply a missing signature. The two items were immediately fixed in October and OPD was reported to be in compliance.

The previous two audits June 16, 2017, and June 8, 2011, noted numerous required documents were missing from personnel files. In the June 2017 audit, computerized criminal histories for nearly every officer and fingerprints for four officers were not in their personnel files. 

In pursuit of more than a passing grade, Cross has been preparing the department to be certified by the Texas Police Chiefs Association which will perform audits of the department above and beyond the requirements of TCOLE.

One move toward the certification is happening in the evidence room. Mission Control Consulting, experts in evidence room maintenance conducted an audit of OPD’s evidence room in October. According Deana Clark, the evidence room manager for 27 years, the audit in October was the only one to take place during her tenure. 

According to Cross, an estimated 40 guns from the evidence room—some dating back to cases in the 80s—were destroyed this week.  Due to the continued work by Mission Control Consulting, Officer Morris stated roughly 90 percent of the evidence stored at OPD has been granted destruction orders by the court and subsequently destroyed.

Another recommendation was to investigate allegations of prescription drug abuse, potential fraud and mishandling of the Police Explorer Fund.

According to evidence in the internal investigation into Roberts, a personnel incident form was filed on July 10 against an officer for over two years worth of unauthorized use of the Police Explorer bank account and use of the city credit card. According to the report filed by Roberts, “the usage of the card was so rampant that we were forced to cancel the credit card, have it reissued, and then conceal its location to prevent further unauthorized use.” 

The day of the report, Roberts requested City Council close the bank account stating simply that the Police Explorer program had “basically become defunct.” Roberts did not inform the council of the previous abuse of the account and the council granted the $122 remaining to be given to the Boy Scouts of America.

The investigation into the unauthorized use was turned over to the Texas Rangers, according to the investigative notes into Roberts. The Ranger refused to investigate the case “due to no internal controls” and Roberts did not pursue the matter any further. The evidence also states Roberts did not continue to pursue the drug abuse allegations after speaking with a “drug dealer”. 

These incidents spurred two other recommendations by Bohn and Associates to institute financial accountability processes and to institute policies concerning random and for-cause drug testing, communications policies regarding computer use, accessing pornography, expectations of privacy and restricting access to appropriate personnel. 

These policies were passed by City Council at the end of September and the beginning of October.

Earlier this month, Cross presented an update to City Council of changes at the department, including implementing another recommendation to establish new hiring and background standards for police applicants. The remainder of items presented to the council are:

•    Implemented Case Solvability Matrix to more efficiently investigate crimes

•    Initiated department wide inventory

•    Completed TxDOT Crash Training – Department will transition to the TxDOT Online Crash Reporting System on 1/1/2018

•    Generated new policies to ensure statutory compliance

•    Began working on alarm permit draft ordinance

•    Constructed evidence processing area

•    Implemented Inventory Control and Tracking system

•    Discussed expectations with District and County Attorneys on case 

filings and was invited to present cases to Grand Jury.  

 

•    Developed a Zero Tolerance Initiative to address problem areas

•    Began nuisance abatement investigation

•    Developed partnership with the Young County Sheriff’s Office for segments of training of new 

officers

•    All vehicles are in service and operating

•    Developed policy distribution procedure through Adobe which can track 

receipt of updates by each employee

•   Converted employees to new ID based system to ensure compliance with 

The Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Olney Enterprise

213 E. Main St.
PO Box 577

Olney, Texas 76374


Phone: (940) 564-5558

Fax: (940) 564-3992