Urbana Police host ‘First Thursday’

By Jonathan Jacobson

The Urbana Police Department hosted a community meeting on Thursday night as a part of their “First Thursday” program.

Hosted on the first Thursday of each month, the meeting discussed traffic stop etiquette as well as recruitment and training of police officers.

The program was initiated by police officers in the department to open discussion with the community. Police Chief Eddie Adair commended the efforts of his staff.

“It’s not always that you have worker bees doing extra work,” Adair said.

The discussion was facilitated by the presentations of Patrol Officer Robert Fitzgerald and Lieutenant Kent Jepsen. Fitzgerald gave a presentation on traffic stops, addressing questions from a crowd of about ten people.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time an officer pulls you over, it’s for a traffic stop,” Fitzgerald said. “Anyone we stop, now, we have to fill out paperwork.”

Addressing recruitment issues, Kathleen Charleston, assistant personnel manager, explained the goal is to attract a wide range of applicants.

“We design our recruitment to reach a diverse group,” Charleston said.

During the process of recruitment, the candidates must take a test that includes an essay. Then, the best candidates must interview with the chief. Once they have been selected, the trainees must complete a 12-week, 480-hour course before they join the force.

“We focus on the education of our employees,” Chief Adair said. “A key to law enforcement is education and training.”