This is the third installment in a series highlighting the 2014 Voice of the People Award winners. The Voice of the People Awards recognize outstanding communities as identified by The National Citizen Survey.
Cooperation between police departments, fire departments and residents is important to maintaining a safe community. Chanhassen, MN; Hopkinton, MA; and Weston, MA display an outstanding commitment to community safety through inter-agency programs and community involvement. All three jurisdictions focus heavily on preventing crime, maintaining good community relations and community service. These communities also sponsor drug take-back programs that prevent unused prescription drugs from being abused or consumed by children.
Chanhassen works hard to ensure traffic safety through its Project Leadfoot and CarFit programs. Project Leadfoot is a neighborhood traffic calming initiative. CarFit is a program in which auto technicians help older drivers make adjustments to maximize their vehicles’ safety features (e.g., mirrors, seat position). Technicians also assist citizens with properly installing car seats. In the future, the City will focus on enhancing public safety education for multi-family properties.
The Chanhassen Sheriff’s Office is active in ensuring community safety. It manages a prescription drug take-back program, holds regular meetings with seniors, partners with local schools, maintain dedicated domestic violence response teams and established the Citizens Academy, a community partnership program.
The City has used an email notification system since 2001 to send the citizens and businesses crime alerts. Every July, the City sponsors Safety Camp to teach lifetime safety skills to children. To improve bike safety, the City has provided citizens with low-cost bike helmets.
The Hopkinton Police Department partners with community organizations that share safety goals. A dedicated School Resource Office handles all aspects of school safety and interacts with students and faculty as well as attends school safety team meetings. These activities help to facilitate policy planning for future school safety protocols. Hopkinton police also focus on preventing the elderly from fraud and scams; education and engagement is crucial to preventing these crimes.
Since 2000, the Hopkinton Police Department has offered the Rape Aggression Defense Systems Training Class which has certified over 1,200 women in basic self-defense. This class is offered twice a year and consists of between four and five sessions.
The Town of Weston works across the Fire and Police Departments to ensure safety throughout the community. The Weston Fire Department provides basic life support ambulance service, with paramedic support provided in collaboration with eight other towns. The Fire Department also facilitates community outreach and meets regularly with the Town’s Council on Aging. Weston’s Fire Chief is responsible for the Town’s emergency management including the Weston Emergency Reserve Corps which consists of over 70 resident volunteers who can mobilize in the event of a community or regional emergency.
With 250,000 cars passing through Weston on a daily basis, despite a population of only 11,500, the Weston Police Department makes a priority of being seen. A police presence in prominent areas of town deters crime and community service officers are present at schools and the senior center. The town will have a new police station next year and hopes to further expand its community outreach and safety efforts.