In June, former Berea Chief of Police David Gregory created a full-time street crimes unit, and current Chief Eric Scott said it's here to stay.
"The city of Berea has seen its fair share of drugs and crimes as most have in the central/eastern Kentucky areas, so looking at how we could address these concerns, the unit was formed," Scott said. "The purpose of the team is targeted enforcement while assisting patrol with time consuming investigations."
Originally, the idea of the street crimes unit came about because of multiple reasons, one of which being how unique of an area Berea is.
"It encompasses many diverse backgrounds, cultures and economical statuses," Scott explained. "Being positioned on a major highway, it has seen its fair share of crime from many of whom aren't even from this area."
But sometimes, it was difficult for patrol officers "to do targeted enforcement as they are often controlled by the calls for service within their district/area of responsibility for the day," he said. "This team is one that isn't assigned to day-to-day police calls and has the freedom to truly address issues within our city related to specific matters needing dedicated focus."
Officers with BPD were then chosen for the street crimes unit based on their thoroughness in investigations and how effective they are with their approach to handling cases. Scott said they "are some of the most talented officers within the department."
He described them as very experienced and as having "a great ability to investigate and resolve issues within the city."
Scott also said these officers work as a specialized team within the department's investigations detective's bureau. The officers on the unit look into tips the department receives and patrols specific areas of the city.
There are both full-time officers and others who assist with specific "operations demanding a multifaceted approach," Scott said. Additionally, the officers "work all shifts and are flexible in how they schedule out their weeks to ensure they meet the needs of the community."
"The unit stays very busy working on old, new and preventative matters within the city," he said. "The unit has a multifaceted approach to addressing concerns … to assist patrol in our overall mission of making and keeping Berea a safe place for us all."
And he said so far, it's been a success.
"I absolutely see them making a huge difference in targeted enforcement within the city," he said. "The team works great together and truly are imperative in addressing specific areas of concern within our city."
Scott added that the unit doesn't require a lot of resources, and he also hopes that the unit grows.
"(I'm) excited to see where this initiative goes under the leadership of myself and Captain (Danny) Brewer," Scott said.
Reach Sara Kuhl at 624-6626.