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The Future of Public Safety in Henderson The City of Henderson continues to be ranked among the safest cities in the country. The quality of life residents enjoy is made possible, in part, because of the city’s strong commitment to public safety. In fact, in a 2014 community survey, 92 percent of responding residents said they feel safe in their neighborhoods and safe from violent crime. Staying safe and remaining premier is an ongoing effort, one that focuses on technology, training and accountability. One meaningful way to continually assess public safety operations is the national accreditation process. The city’s Fire Department is one of few in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and the Commission on Accreditation Program. The Henderson Police Department is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). In November 2015, its Communications Bureau also earned CALEA accreditation. Under the leadership of Chief Patrick Moers, the Police Department has embarked on an ambitious recruitment plan that focuses on diversity to better reflect city’s ethnic makeup as well as increasing the applicant pool to include more women. One successful outreach strategy involved hosting community-wide recruitment events. As a result, more than 2,300 applications for police officer and corrections officer positions were received in 2015, with 50 percent from minorities. But even with the most recent hires, staffing continues to remain a concern for the department, which patrols over 107 square miles. Public safety expectations have increased while staff resources have declined. Officers respond to an average of 140,000 calls for service annually, yet personnel allocation has decreased. As a result, response times to calls for immediate threat to life, a felony in progress, fire, accident, medical emergency or natural disaster, have increased from an average of 5.32 minutes in 2010 to 6.39 minutes in 2015. And due to a sharp increase in growth on the west side of Henderson (southwest of Henderson Executive Airport, bounded on the north by St. Rose Parkway, and to the east by Anthem) response times in that area are now at 7.47 minutes. “The community would strongly benefit from a new police station in the West Area Command,” said Chief Moers. “It is essential if we hope to continue to ensure the safety of our residents.” The Fire Department is also stretching its resources. Five years ago, it responded to 6,738 calls. In 2015, it responded to 28,949 calls. They, too, are looking to keep pace with growth on the west side of town. Plans for Fire Station 90, serving Inspirada, will open by the end of 2017. “Our community has added nearly 100,000 new residents since our last fire station opened in 2002, yet no new stations have been added to serve those residents,” said Henderson Fire Chief Matthew Morris. “Even with the developer’s contributions to build Fire Station 90, we have not yet identified the resources we need to equip it properly.” “Henderson residents know if there is an emergency, they can expect to receive outstanding service from the finest first responders in the country,” said Mayor Andy Hafen. “But as our community continues to grow and as demand for services increases, there needs to be continued investment if we wish to remain one of the safest communities in the nation.”


16-316579_HH_Spring_2016_E-Mag
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