Police chief speaks to Rotary club

Published 8:34 pm Friday, April 26, 2013

Clanton Police is responsible for guns, handcuffs, bulletproof vests and SWAT vehicles, among other necessary law enforcement equipment.

So, CPD Chief Brian Stilwell knows what power is…but it’s not what you might expect.

“Knowledge is power,” Stilwell told members of the Rotary Club of Chilton County on Wednesday.

Stilwell told club members at a meeting at Clara’s Country Cafe that his department is focused on educating Clanton residents about why law enforcement is beneficial, and how residents can help police do their jobs.

Stilwell said law enforcement is crucial to economic development because potential businesses look at a prospective location’s crime rate. Clanton’s has been high compared to other cities its size, but Stilwell is trying to make improvements.

“We’re doing some things now to really tackle the crime issue,” he said.

In 2010, the department added eight employees and was re-organized to make it a more proactive force. There were also technology upgrades and a remodeling of the department.

Results are becoming obvious: There was a 23 percent reduction in overall crime from 2011 to 2012.

“There’s no reason why the city of Clanton should appear to be more crime-ridden (than its neighbors),” Stilwell said.

Stilwell offered an example of how enhanced techology and training has allowed CPD to be more effective.

There was a recent rash of robberies in Clanton, and officers believed the same suspect was responsible for several other similar crimes across the state. After issuing a warrant for cell phone records and using recently acquired training, CPD was able to tie the suspect to the other crimes and track him down.

“People were absolutely amazed that little bitty Clanton, Ala. was able to do all this stuff,” Stilwell said.

The police chief also mentioned plans for a Neighborhood Improvement Team that would focus on quality-of-life issues.

One such issue is drug use and the dangers it poses. Stilwell and other CPD officers showed Rotary club members common materials for producing methamphetamine.

Stilwell described the drug as a “massive problem.”

“They literally are everywhere,” Stilwell said about discarded labs, which are highly toxic.

Drug take-back is Saturday

Clanton Police Department narcotics detectives will hold the annual “Prescription Drug Take-Back” in partnership with Drug Enforcement Administration from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday at Goose Pond Park in Clanton.

Unused prescriptions may be brought to the event so they can be properly disposed of.