By Isabella Amann
Don’t let the small staff fool you; the Owensville Police Department is one of the most successful and hardworking departments in Clermont County. This station was established in 1836, when Owensville was founded. The team is made up of fourteen staff members. Over time, the station has worked hard to improve its staff and reputation.
This town and station has a very interesting historical background. Today the station is located in Owensville’s old courthouse, in the center of the village. However, the courthouse itself was built on the grounds of Dr. Allison’s revolutionary war grant. No changes have been made to the building, and the town has preserved it as one of their most historical scenes. Each staff member makes sure to respect this historical building, along with the community surrounding it.
And who says you need a big staff to succeed? The Owensville Police Department has no problem succeeding with a relatively small staff. Chief of Police Mike Freeman even uses a famous quote by Margaret Mead on their website as motivation for his staff: “Never doubt that a small group of dedicated people can change the world … indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” The chief is intent on proving that his small team can certainly succeed. He also states that his team runs on an “innovative attitude.” They are always looking for ways and techniques to improve their community. Freeman chose members he believed would best serve this village. Each person on his staff has his or her own personal drive to make the community better. Yes, the station has faced failure in the past, although without failure, there’s no evidence of areas that need improvement.
The staff chosen by the chief consists of two lieutenants, two sergeants, one corporal, and eight patrolmen. These men and women work hard to keep our community safe. Each has had their own special journey to get to where they are today. Many have had very different experiences, some more serious than others.
For example, Chief Freeman first started his journey right out of high school, when his grandfather encouraged him to pursue law enforcement, just like he had. What’s interesting about the chief is that he’s worked in other law enforcement roles as well, such as his work in the FBI. This is where most of his experiences came from. The chief says he’s learned a great deal over the years and has been through many scary experiences working for the FBI. Freeman said one of the most terrifying things was “entering a building, knowing the criminal is armed.”
Chief Freeman also said that as a member of law enforcement, it takes someone with certain personality strengths to be able to succeed. To be a part of this particular team, there are certain personality strengths that are needed. The Chief doesn’t want to just take anyone; he wants to choose the men and women that are going to best fulfill their duty. He’s looking for someone with the ability to collaborate with others. Teamwork within the station is essential, and the community deserves effort from every staff member. Another important quality officers need to have is responsibility. Nobody is perfect. Everyone on this team has had his or her fair share of mistakes, and each officer has owned up to these. But, this is where having the capacity to learn is important. The officer has to be able to learn from these mistakes, and then design a new approach to similar situations.
The Chief has also set up the station so that each employee is empowered to make his or her own independent decisions. He says his team doesn’t believe in the cliché “we’ve just always been that way.” He thinks it’s important to always try new techniques. It keeps the job interesting, and that way the officers are always motivated. This department also is accepting of all individuals, no matter their race, religion, creed, color, etc. Each member of the team is instructed to keep his or her biases at home and to treat every person he or she may encounter with respect and kindness. This is very important because Owensville has a very diverse community. Besides being innovative, Mike explains that his team stresses professionalism, integrity, and fairness.
The department has opened up their station to members of the community. The station is open at all hours, and individuals are welcome to bring their friends and family down to visit. These officers are open to answering any questions individuals may have, and the team appreciates the community’s interests. They are willing to show guests around the town and show what Owensville has to offer.
Not only do the officers have visitors, but they are visitors themselves as well. The team takes great pride in the members of their community, including the senior citizens. Periodically, the officers visit the senior citizens of the community. They help check on their welfare or any other activity of importance. Most importantly, the officers want the senior citizens to feel comforted and safe, and that they are not alone in the world. These officers take on activities from simply helping the senior resident with making a coffee to going to the local store and assisting them by obtaining groceries the seniors would have not been able to get on their own. This is one of the ways they like to keep their job interesting and worthwhile.
The department also likes to keep the way they patrol interesting. They use two types of cars to patrol the area: Crown Victoria’s and Ford Explorers. Although that’s not the fun part, the officers also patrol the area using bikes. These bikes are used to reach areas or handle situations where vehicles may not be appropriate or possible. For example, if the officer wants to remain quiet and get a more accurate view of what is happening, he or she could use a bike. Also, there are times where the officers have to deal with crowds of people in which vehicles are the least effective way to approach a situation. These bikes are not just handed out to any patrolman who knows how to ride. Surprisingly, there are specials skills required and techniques that have to be taught to an officer who patrols the area using a bike. The officers need to be stealthy and have quick reaction time. They might have to be able to cut corners quickly and travel in narrow places that patrolman in vehicles would not be able to access. They also have to be quick on their feet, because there are going to be times when they can’t use either the bike or car, and will have to travel by foot to catch the criminal. The Owensville team is trying to improve these skills in every one of its staff members.
To date, the Owensville Police Department has had great success. Each member of the team brings inherent value and skill to the community. They have done a great job serving our community, from fighting crime to helping those in need. They exemplify great professionalism, and have brought innovation to the field. They have done a great job preserving the town’s history, as well as making the community suitable for future generations.