The Neighborhood watch program is designed to be another component of safety when police are not at the neighborhood's immediate disposal while a crime or other suspicious activity is taking place. It aids in police investigations by being the eyes and ears for a neighborhood when police presence is not available. This program can be an effective tool in solving and preventing 50% or more of crimes in a neighborhood setting. To be a vital law enforcement aid and safety conscious area there should be a designated resident that makes contact with the police community relations officer on a monthly basis and sustains a good relationship with him/her on a personal and professional level. In the contacts, the resident should advise police of particular problems that they may be having or focus on potential problems and areas that could compromise the safety of the neighborhood. The officer will serve as a liaison that provides information on public safety and other important issues concerning each specific neighborhood. For example, the watch order program is for short term enforcement when conditions warrant. These watch orders allow the police to know exactly what problems the area is having and what should be watched for in the area. This is just one example of how the officer can assist the residents. Officers are also available for safety presentations and neighborhood inspections when needed. Any suspicious activity or crimes in progress should be reported the police department immediately. When citizens band together and utilize resources made available through the department, the area will be considerably safer.
The purpose of the cadet program is to establish a relationship between Muskogee youth and the police department. This relationship is one of friendship and trust, teaching, learning and working together. The Police Cadets are instructed by Muskogee Police Officers in areas including, felony traffic stops, investigative procedures, building checks, self-defense and drug identification. Officers also schedule outings with the cadets that may include "movie night" or perhaps a trip to "Laser Quest" in Tulsa. The Police Cadets aid the police department during parades, air show and other media events. A cadet candidate must by at least 14 years of age and not older than 21 and be a responsible person. At the age of 16 a Cadet can ride four hours a week with a police officer after they have received ample training and instruction. The cadet must follow a set of rules established by the officer he/she is riding with to ensure their safety. This is one of the few programs that go year round in an attempt to fill the gaps left by sports programs or other clubs and organizations.
The Police Community Relations Division provides several opportunities each year to learn aspects of child safety. These may include the buckle baby right program or the fingerprinting of children. This allows the parent to have the child's fingerprints on file, making them easily accessible if the need should arise to use them.
The Muskogee Police Department is also a member of PROJECT SAFE PLACE. This project provides access to immediate help and supportive resources to all young people in crisis through a network of sites sustained by qualified agencies, trained volunteers and businesses.
The Amber Alert Plan is designed to use maximum public participation to recover children in the most serious abduction cases. It is a cooperative agreement between the Office of the Governor, the Department of Public Safety, the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, and various law enforcement agencies in the state of Oklahoma. The Plan is an early warning system available for use by law enforcement to alert the public when a child has been kidnapped and the police believe the child is in danger. It is hoped that the early warning distributed by the state radio and television Emergency Alert System (EAS) will coerce a kidnapper into releasing a child, for fear of being caught. It is imperative that all police department personnel are familiar with the guidelines for activating an Amber Alert and are able to quickly and efficiently cause an alert to occur. In all Amber Alert situations time is of the essence.
The Amber Alert Plan requires law enforcement to meet two criteria when evaluating child abduction. Both of the below listed guidelines must be present before an activation of the alert can occur.
- The “Amber Alert” should be activated when a child 15 years of age or younger, or an individual under proven mental or physical disability is abducted and there is reason to believe the victim is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
- There is information available to disseminate to the general public which could assist in the safe recovery of the victim and/or the apprehension of a suspect.
The Amber Alert is activated only when the specific requirements of the plan are met as shown above; therefore, the Amber Alert is not activated for every child abduction or situations involving runaways, child custody disputes, or missing children. The Amber Plan is primarily a child recovery system but may be activated in certain cases involving an individual over the age of 15 who has a proven mental or physical disability (ex. Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, etc.). These types of situations must be evaluated on a case by case basis.
The Chaplain Corps is a program that is currently under construction. The Chaplain Corps will assist Officers in death notifications, Officer funerals, and Officer counseling. Hispanic Speaking Chaplains will also be available. This program is hoped to be up and running soon.
After a major disaster or "Amber Alert", local Police, Police Dispatch and Personnel can quickly become overwhelmed. The Community Emergency Response Team, (C.E.R.T.), Program is designed to train Responsible Citizens to activate immediately and assist the Muskogee Police Department after a Disaster, or an "Amber Alert", should one be activated. CERT Volunteers will be educated in manning telephones, asking vital questions, and documenting important information. Team Members will also be trained in responding to questions that may inform concerned citizens of the hazards that may exist and impact their area. Using the training learned in the classroom, CERT Members can assist others in the community and the local Police Department. CERT Members also are encouraged to take a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community should the opportunity present itself. Such as Light Search & Rescue, Basic First Aid/C.P.R./Basic Life Support Classes, and keeping them up to date. Fire Prevention and Preparedness, Tornado Detection & Safety, Personal & Home Safety, etc...
CERT Members will be trained in monitoring telephones in case of:
1. Natural or Man-Made Disasters
2. An "Amber Alert"