Looking back, ahead at Police Department _lowres

Advocate staff photo by STACY GILL -- Zachary Police Chief David McDavid highlights the police department's achievements in 2015 and outlines goals for 2016 on Jan. 7 as the Rotary Club of Zachary's guest speaker.

Zachary Police Chief David McDavid highlighted the Police Department’s achievements in 2015, shared police statistics and identified goals for 2016 and beyond when he visited the Zachary Rotary Club as a guest speaker on Jan. 7.

Since 2011, McDavid has been at the helm of the local law enforcement agency that employs about 60 people, including roughly 43 police officers, 15 reserve officers, seven dispatchers and four detectives. One marshal handles all courtroom issues, garnishments and seizures.

McDavid said 1,953 total hours were logged last year by the reserve officers. By using the reserves, the city saves about $30,000 in salaries and $50,000 in equipment and police vehicles annually per reserve, he said.

School Resource and DARE officers are an integral part of the department, as well, with one working full-time at Zachary High and others splitting time between the elementary schools, he said.

Seven dispatchers handle all 911-related calls into the department, but one or two more dispatchers are needed.

“These ladies handle a lot of stressful situations and do so with such professionalism,” McDavid said.

Recently, the Police Department updated its communications center for $25,000 and is waiting to become part of a $5 million upgrade to the parishwide communications system.

“Right now, that system is being held together by Band-Aids,” said McDavid. “But we’ve upgraded our evidence program, the Uniform Patrol division has received some new equipment in their police cars, we’ve launched a new website, and we have a Facebook page that allows us to stay connected with the community, so lots of good things are happening.”

He said the department is seeing lots of sex crimes and child pornography cases involving cellphones and laptops, but to solve those problems requires upgrades in police technology.

Also, Zachary officers are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Secret Service in monitoring scams on the elderly.

The Criminal Investigations Division of the Zachary Police Department employs four detectives. They are waiting to see if they have been awarded a $3.9 million grant for upgrades to their location at the East Baton Rouge sheriff’s Zachary-Plains Substation.

Other law enforcement grants have helped pay for ATVs and search and rescue equipment.

Each year, Zachary police officers conduct three to four school searches, looking through lockers, gym bags and parking lots, he said. The Police Department’s single K-9, Neko, receives help during those searches from officers and other canines at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Dixon Correctional Institute and other agencies. In turn, Neko and his handler offer their help when needed.

All officers receive continuing education training, defensive tactics training and firearms training, which includes shooting at moving targets and other maneuvers. The Zachary Police Department also rehearses threat assessments with schools in case of threats and disasters, McDavid said.

“If we don’t have our ducks in a row, liabilities can happen. Myself and all of the force must be ready at all times,” he said.

In the near future, McDavid’s hope is that the 27-year-old Police Department will have a new building to call home, along with City Hall.

“We’ve got lots of great things going on in Zachary, but with growth, comes more incidents, and more incidents equate to more crime,” said McDavid. “If you see something, say something. Call and let us know. My door is always open.”

In 2015, more than 12,111 calls came into the 911 center; 8,208 reports were written; 1,020 arrests were made; three traffic fatalities occurred; and more than 300 hours were logged in travel time with schools and athletic teams.

Learn more about the Zachary Police Department by visiting zacharypd.org. Call 911 or (225) 654-9393 in an emergency or (225) 654-1921 for non-emergencies.