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2011 was a year of change for the Springfield Police Department, according to the Chief Paul Williams in the department's Annual Report. The budget cuts that the police force has regularly endured over the past few years have ended. Last year the SPD was able to restore positions and programs that police say will better serve the citizens of Springfield.
To address long-term issues that the city faces, the SPD has rezoned its regular beats. According to the report, the police department has already seen a 4% decrease in calls for service from the hotspots that were identified.
In addition to changes made to the police, the department is trying to reconnect with the community. In acknowledgment of their efforts, last year the SPD received the Reaching for the Stars reward from the Community Partnership of the Ozarks-Caring Communities.
One unpleasant truth about 2011 was an increase in the number of meth labs found. 67 labs were found in 2010 and 108 were found in 2011, an increase of 41 labs, or 62%. It is not clear as to whether the trend is the result of more aggressive action on the part of SPD or an increase in overall labs in the city.
Metal theft also rose in Springfield in 2011. To combat the trend, the SPD dedicated a full time investigator to the beat.
One change that many people in the city may have noticed is the changing of color scheme from blue and white to black and white. According to the report, the SPD has received public support for the color change, citing a more professional appearance.
For more information and data you can find a link to the entire 2011 Annual Report on our website.
For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.