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LETTER: Did you know?

Did you know that our Winchester Police Department has the highest level of accreditation in Kentucky since 2007-2020? This is a great achievement and accomplishment receiving this highest level of accreditation for 13 years.

Our Winchester Police Department was in compliance with President Obama’s 21st century policing guidelines before its creation in 2015.

We have 32 sworn officers — 30 white, one female and one African-American senior supervisor.

Our officers go through six months of training and an additional 700 hours — the longest training of any department.

They are required to complete 40 hours of training each year. There is an additional 100 hours of departmental in-house training.

Did you know that our Winchester Police Department receives 50,000 emergency calls per year, which involves police officers performing their duties professionally?

Did you know in the past 30-plus years, an officer has been involved in two shootings. Both suspects were armed, both were caucasians and both  survived their injury.

There have been no deaths in custody of police justified or otherwise in more than 30 years.

All use of force is documented and reviewed personally by the chief of police.

There have been 500 arrests since January 2020. Eight were discretionary arrests of minorities, which means arrest for warrants or domestic violence. The officer has no choice. They shall arrest. No bias can be attributed.

There has been no complaint of use of force involving minorities. The last minority requiring medical attention was more than five years ago. The officer is no longer with the department.

Did you know our Winchester Police Department do not use the choke hold or knee on neck?

Did you know that our Winchester Police Department does not use no knock warrants?

Did you know that it is a requirement for an officer on patrol that his body camera be on?

Did you know when the blue light on the cruiser comes on, a sensor activates the body camera automatically. This creates transparency for our community. Our police department has had body cameras for several years.

Did you know that our police department regularly offers events, trainings and transparency mechanisms, such as Citizen Police Academy, youth Explorer program, free workplace and church safety seminars, Neighborhood Watch, anonymous tip line, citizen complaint protocols and department Facebook and email channels.

Did you know that officers do 12,000 times or more extra patrol whenever a community member needs an officer to check on concerns they may have?

Did you know that the chief of police have set benchmarks for officers to be active in the community?

Thank you, Chief Kevin Palmer, for taking time out to give me more insight and information on what you and your officers are doing on a daily basis to serve this community.

I encourage anyone to sit down and talk to our officers.

We don’t communicate enough with one another.

I am reminded what my father-in law would say to me: Understanding is one of the greatest things in the world. Solomon said get wisdom, get knowledge above all, get understanding.

So let’s keep that line of communication open with one another so that we will work together to improve our relationship.

Seeing the arrests in the newspaper is very small compared to many things we do not hear about because I assume and others do too.

I appreciate our Winchester Police Department.

Thank you, officers, for your service.

I hope you will let them know you appreciate them too.

William Baker

Winchester