by Jennifer Sierra
In a recent interview with the future Dayton, Kentucky Police Chief, and current Campbell County Sergeant, David Halfhill. He outlined his goals for Dayton, Kentucky:
- Customer Service: “Provide better customer service to the citizens of Dayton. Cut the amount of time it takes for an officer to respond to a call. One of the problems previously was that there were nights that only one officer was on duty. If they are on another call, they could be tied up for a half hour and if you get another call, that call will have to wait. People were complaining it took 20 minutes.” Halfhill said we have to get more people on the street so we are less reliable on Bellevue for back up.
- More time out on the streets: Dave Halfhill wants officers to spend less time in the office and more time in their cars on the streets. He said they can work on reports while sitting in their cars. He plans on keeping all of the current police officers in Dayton but he is going to change the schedule of officers and their shifts. “We are going to a 10-hour shift with more people on at night and fewer on during the days. There will be at least 2 people on at all times and 3, 4 or 5 people on at night.” He went on to explain how that is possible with only 9 officers. Every 3 weeks an officer will have a 4-day weekend because the officers will now be working 50 hours a week.
- Better Uniforms: Sergeant Halfhill wants to make sure that all Dayton police officers are outfitted with appropriate attire. He believes that if all officers have class A uniforms that they will get more respect from their peers and the community.
- Better pay to retain officers: Halfhill said that the beginning salaries for officers is competitive with other departments but that once the officers reach the 3 to 6 year mark, the salaries become much better in other police departments.
- Curfew: A curfew for kids under 18 needs to be in place and enforced. Parents should be cited when their kids get picked up and have to be brought home by an officer after curfew.
- Light Bars on Cars: Sergeant Halfhill stated that putting light bars on all of the police cars makes them more visible when they are out on the street.
On his experience he listed these awards:
- – Governor’s Award for DUI – 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010
- – Buckle Up Safety Award – 1998, 2002, 2003
- – Outstanding Service Award – 2005
- – Distinguished Service Recognition from the Kentucky Attorney
- -General for the Child Sexual Predator Sting – 2007
- – Fit for Duty Award – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012,2014
- – K.T.O.A SWAT competition 2nd place 2009, 2012 (KTOA-Kentucky Tactical Officers Association)
Dave Halfhill has been a police officer for 17 years and he has been with 3 departments. “I have had special training with the police academy and its Criminal Justice Criminal Development. It teaches you how to be a good leader.” Halfhill added. He feels like he has the skills necessary to lead the Dayton police force effectively.
When asked about the rumors regarding the police officers losing their take home fleet Halfhill stated, “The rumors of the force losing their fleet are incorrect. The officers will get to keep their fleet.”
Scott O’Brien and Halfhill went to the Police Academy together and were sparring partners in the academy. Halfhill says they have maintained a good relationship throughout the years. I think that Scott did a good job for Dayton. “It wasn’t that he was a bad person or didn’t do a good job. He just didn’t do what was expected of him.” Halfhill stated about O’Brien’s dismissal. “I went through the policies that Chief O’Brien implemented and he copied and pasted the policies from Taylor Mill, which is where he came from. He treated Dayton like Taylor Mill, a bedroom community, which not much goes on there so you develop a reactive type mentality and you can’t do that here (in Dayton). You have to be more proactive in the community. You have to stop cars. You can’t have 4 administrators on day shift. You have to take away from those 4 and put them on a night shift. That would have solved a lot of problems and a lot of issues for him.” Dave Halfhill wants to reach out to O’Brien to see why he made some of the decisions he did while chief but hasn’t yet. He also said he plans on reaching out to the Bellevue Police Department and the Bellevue Dayton Fire Department to maintain good, working relationships among departments.
He plans on continuing the Neighborhood Watch program that was started in Dayton. The city still has the Homeland Security Grant that Scott O’Brien got for Dayton for additional cameras. “I will revisit the areas that were going to get cameras to see if those were the areas you want to have the cameras.” According to Halfhill, “It was set up in a way that only Chief O’Brien would have had access to the cameras once they were set up. This is an officer’s tool. I want all of the officers to be able to access the cameras.” The app that Scott O’Brien had started to tell the Bellevue Dayton Sun about the day he was fired, was something that Dave Halfhill wasn’t familiar with. He said that he would look into it once he started the job.
One of the concerns voiced recently is that since Chief O’Brien was let go, the drug dealers were going to come back into town because they view this change in command as a weak period of time in Dayton. Halfhill said that if drug dealers know him, they won’t come around. He said he has a reputation of making heroin arrests for Campbell County.
He plans on being here for a long time. He realizes that in 4 years someone else might become mayor and he might lose his job. He knows he won’t make friends in this job but he said he isn’t worried for the safety of his family. He feels he has a good relationship with the citizens of Dayton. He has never had threats and never had his house vandalized.
Sergeant Halfhill said, “I am going to have to work. I am going to have to be out stopping cars and answering calls. I am going to be in a uniform just like everyone else. I am going to be in a marked car with a light bar.”
He ended our interview with this, “I am eager to get going, I am nervous and excited.”