Killeen: Community Forum Educates Residents On New Programs

By: Kristin Gordon Email
By: Kristin Gordon Email

KILLEEN (July 15, 2013) -- The Killeen Police Department held a community forum Monday evening.

This in the midst of a shooting over the weekend where one police officer, Robert Hornsby, was killed and another, Juan Obregon Jr, wounded when a domestic disturbance escalated at an apartment complex in Killeen.

"Not only on behalf of the family of a fallen officer, but also an officer that was injured, the response has been overwhelming," said Dennis Baldwin, Killeen Police Chief.

"We have community members, organizations, emails, text messages that have been non-stop throughout the community and the state for the last 24-hours."

He thanked the audience for keeping the police in their thoughts and prayers.

The first topic of discussion was violent and non-violent crime statistics for 2012.

The overall crime rate decreased by -6.32 percent in 2012 compared to 2011.

Next on the agenda was a poster Baldwin held up that stated "See something, say something."

Killeen Police request that organizations and businesses hang the poster in their establishments.

The poster features gun store employee, Greg Ebert, an employee at Guns Galore.

He told authorities about Naser Jason Abdo acting suspicious. That tip helped police stop his plans to blow up restaurants where Fort Hood soldiers frequented.

"We could have had worse than what we saw at Luby's and what we saw during the Fort Hood shooting," said Baldwin.

He said that an extra set of eyes from the community would help the effort.

Police are cracking down on speeding in construction zones. According to Baldwin, 135 construction workers were killed in 2012, due to reckless drivers.

When the initiative first began, police wrote over 100 tickets within an hour.

"There are a lot of construction projects taking place in the city," said Baldwin. "Its your tax dollars hard at work. Be mindful of these zones."

Another topic was a program where residents can submit their make, model and serial number of items into a database.

This will help police return stolen property to its rightful owners after it is retrieved from the scene.

"We did not build a big enough evidence room to keep all of this property until we get it to the rightful owner," said Baldwin.

"Once the case is closed, if we don't know who it belongs to, we've got to get rid of it. We have a lot of cases were we have to handle evidence both big and small.

Drugs, guns and everything else. So we have got to keep that stuff moving."

The state allows police to take possesion of stolen property and dispose of it, but Baldwin says that if the community offers a little help on their end, and use the program, they can return the property.

The red light program was also addressed. "We had a lot of accidents in these intersections and after implementing the program, they have reduced," said Baldwin.

The cameras are at the most dangerous and busy intersections.

Each intersection has two lights with a total of seven cameras positioned to snap a photo once a traffic light turns red.

Baldwin said they do have the ability to expand the program and add more cameras, but will not at this time since there has been a decrease in people running lights.

He also commented that if a photo is taken of a right turn on red, law enforcement officers review those turns and if it is a safe right turn, they dismiss the photo.

Other topics were curfew times for juveniles and the crack down on loud noise disturbances.

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