PRYOR, OK —
Chris Edwards is the newest addition to the Locust Grove Police Department. His philosophy is to create the community’s police department.
He knows not growing up in Locust Grove is a double-edged sword, but he plans to make a place for himself in the community none the less.
Edwards has been in law enforcement nine years, most recently at Wagoner Police Department.
Though Edwards is not from Locust Grove, he said he’s always loved the area.
“I’m in the process of moving my family up here,” said Edwards. I wanted to make a change for my family, and I wanted to take a police department that has been broken and help turn it around.”
Edwards said he, his wife and three children are excited to be a part of the community.
“We will be active in the community as I want my department to be. I believe in community-oriented policing. Our presence in town needs to be obvious, people need to see we’re here for them and that they can trust us,” said Edwards.
Edwards said he is eager to work with the town council to help further a positive image of the town.
He said the issue he will tackle first is overtime.
“There have been some overtime issues in the past, I’d like to lower that expense. It was costing the department quite a bit, so I’d like to find a way to cut down on that without compromising the law enforcement aspect,” said Edwards, adding he also wants to work on policies, procedures and uniformity.
“I want to utilize more training to protect both the community and the department,” said Edwards, adding that one ultimate goal is to build public trust in his department.
“One of the first things I did when I took this position is tell everyone that I want to open the lines of communication. This is an open door office. This means I have an open-door policy for my officers and our doors are open to the public, we want to be in communication with them,” said Edwards.
Edwards said at this point he believes the biggest problem Locust Grove Police Department faces is drug use.
“I plan to fight a very hard war on drugs,” said Edwards, whose training is primarily investigation.
Once the dust has settled, Edwards has big plans for the department.
“Currently Locust Grove does not have a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in schools or a school resource officer. I’d like to explore grant and alternative funding for that. I’d like to take a proactive approach to any problems our school system may have,” said Edwards.
He said he is also looking at equipment grants. Already he has received a $1,500 grant for equipment from Cherokee Nation.
“Looking forward, I want to utilize a department Facebook page to keep the community informed. I’d also like to create a crime-stopper anonymous tip line,” said Edwards.
Edwards said he is eager to bring a Neighborhood Watch program to Locust Grove.
“In previous departments I was responsible for giving lectures on Neighborhood Watch programs, I’ve seen firsthand what a difference it can make to local law enforcement,” said Edwards.
Edwards said Neighborhood Watch improves the safety of the community as well as the quality of information passed on to law enforcement. Stream-
lining the transfer of accurate information to the officers is one way of helping reduce overtime hours. Edwards said that having Neighbor-hood Watch programs is also an asset for potential residents and current and potential businesses.
“I am eager to work with the Chamber of Commerce and town council to promote business growth and development any way I can,” said Edwards.
Edwards said he is eager to bring new training options to the department.
“I also plan on hosting trainings and educational seminars for the community. For example, I plan to host a seminar for Locust’s senior citizens on methods to avoid fraud and identity theft,” said Edwards, adding that he hopes the community will speak up and let the department know what other resources they’d like to see.
Edwards said he is eager to create partnerships with other law enforcement agencies.
“Transparency is key with me. I have nothing to hide, and neither does this department.” said Edwards, when asked if he’d like to send a message to the community. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here. I really want to emphasize community involvement, we can’t do it with without them.”
Edwards encourages Locust Grove citizens to speak out and let him know any issues, questions or concerns they have. He can be reached at email@example.com.