CRESTVIEW — Crestview Police Chief Tony Taylor met with the public and the press Wednesday morning at his monthly Coffee with a Cop event.
Taylor answered questions on issues ranging from red light cameras to community outreach programs. He also talked about the traffic problem in Crestview, which he identified as the number one public safety issue his department deals with.
“That’s our biggest complaint we get," Taylor said, "the traffic. Obviously the amount of crashes that we have indicates that we have a traffic problem.”
Taylor participated in a Facebook LIVE interview for the News Bulletin during the event. During the interview, a reader asked if the police are doing anything about Crestview’s drug problem. Taylor said his department is “very cognizant of the drugs in the community,” but could not divulge specifics on what actions the police are taking to combat the issue.
On the topic of red light cameras, Taylor answered questions about whether the program would send money out of the Crestview economy and about whether lengthening the yellow-light period would also help prevent accidents at busy intersections.
“The state takes a little over half the money,” Taylor said. “The rest of the money stays here in Crestview. It’s designed to be a revenue-neutral program.
“If there are any residual funds after the vendor is paid, then that money stays here in Crestview. What my suggestion to the city council was that we open up an enterprise fund to go to public safety equipment.”
In response to the yellow light questions, Taylor said the length of the yellow light will automatically be increased slightly as part of the camera program. He went on to say that once drivers adjust to the new yellow light timing, red light running will become a problem again.
Another topic Taylor addressed was community outreach programs.
“Our biggest community outreach is our Citizen’s Police Academy,” Taylor said. It’s a 10-week program; it’s one night a week for a couple hours a night. What we do is we basically take them through our entire operations at the police department.”
The Coffee with a Cop event began in 2013, less than a year after Taylor started the job. At the time, Taylor stressed his belief in the importance of having an open-door policy and getting feedback and input from the community.
The event is held on the second Wednesday of each month from 8 am to 10 pm at Casbah Coffee in downtown Crestview.