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HR Police chief: citizens wanted, along with advice

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

July 5, 2006

Hood River Police Chief Bruce Ludwig wants better communication between his officers and the people they serve.

Ludwig is seeking 15 individuals interested in learning more about the rules and regulations that govern his agency. The citizen advisory panel will then look for ways —within those boundaries — to improve service delivery.

“This is not a review board to rate or critique our performance,” said Ludwig. “It’s an informal collaboration between the community and police to identify and meet our challenges.”

He is hopeful the panel will winnow down the key challenges facing Hood River. And then solutions will be found to these “hot button” issues.

“I am looking forward to learning more about what people perceive as problems in the community and finding ways to resolve them,” said Ludwig.

He said all interested individuals can pick up an application for the advisory body at the police station, 211 Second St. The forms must be returned by 5 p.m. on Monday, July 31, for consideration.

Ludwig plans for the panel to meet once each month in the early evening. He would like to see a broad spectrum of people represented, including business owners, parents and senior citizens.

“I think this will just be a great way to learn what people need from us,” he said.

Ludwig said several years ago the police department began networking with citizens in the Neighborhood Watch program. He said the increased interaction between law enforcement and citizens alleviated a lot of safety concerns. For example, people got to know nearby landowners and kept an eye out for suspicious activities when they were away.

This year, Ludwig encouraged his officers to find more ways to share their training expertise with the community. For example, two policemen are now teaching traffic safety to high school students. And numerous self-defense classes were taught earlier this year by a trio of officers to worried women following two sexual assaults.

“There really is no set agenda for this panel. It will just be one way to educate these individuals about what we do and we hope they will then spread the news,” he said.

By the end of the year, Ludwig expects the panel will have some recommendations for changes within the department. He anticipates the meetings will produce some good ideas that can be adopted in the community policing philosophy.

“I think this dialogue will mean good things for Hood River,” he said.

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