Crestview Police Chief Stephen McCosker revealed his five big initiatives for 2020.

CRESTVIEW — Three months into his role as Crestview Police Chief, Stephen McCosker has began preparing for 2020.

McCosker recently came up with his top five initiatives for the upcoming year.

“A lot of them branch off of a continuation of what we are currently doing,” McCosker said. “Some of the things we are focusing on is just refining things a little bit.”

Restarting a traffic unit

While the city already has two traffic camera lights, McCosker believes having officers out patrolling will help create a smoother traffic flow and give more predictable traffic behavior to reduce accidents.

“It’s going to be our philosophy that we want to gain voluntary compliance through enforcement,” McCosker said. “Having people know we will enforce traffic laws will make some people more compliant to following safe traffic laws.”

Strategic planning

McCosker has a goal to have a three-year strategic plan in place by his one-year anniversary on the job, which is Sept. 3.

“That will help us figure out what we need to improve and will help when it comes to budgeting,” McCosker said.

In order to make the plan, he would like to involve both those within the department and the public.

McCosker will work with city manager Tim Bolduc to figure out how to incorporate the public, while also giving those in the organization the opportunity to create a list of the department’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

“Once people know they’re part of the process, they’ll know these are their ideas we are working on,” McCosker said. “We’ll get more buy in that way from both the organization and the community.”

Officer safety training

As part of an effort to enhance officer safety, the police department will take part in several different trainings next year.

The trainings include de-escalation, crisis intervention and defensive tactics.

According to McCosker, these trainings will benefit both the officers and the community because it will allow officers to better understand how to handle different situations such as dealing with mental health and addictions.

“I don’t think we learn enough when we’re younger about how to effectively communicate to bring the situation down,” McCosker said. “When you train on them, you understand that you’re the communicator and you’re the one dictating the message that goes out.”

Partnerships/community engagement

During the next year, McCosker will look for more state and federal partnerships for grant opportunities.

Some of the grant opportunities he will seek includes a victim’s advocate and bullet resistant vests grants.

“We want to use it to fund different projects and initiatives so they don’t all fall on the city of Crestview,” McCosker said. “This way, we can be more effective with the use of funding.”

McCosker also would like to continue to grow the department’s engagement with residents. He plans to incorporate social media by posting about pop-up events and games. During these non-scheduled events, the community will be able to hang out with and talk to different officers.

“One of my big pushes is that we all have to understand that we’re human beings,” McCosker said. “By having the pop-up games and things like it, we remove the ’us and them’ barriers.”

Overall efficiency

By the end of next year, McCosker hopes that the department will be overall more efficient.

Some of the ways he will work towards that includes the use of PredPol. PredPol is a predictive policing company which uses predictive analytics to support law enforcement through the practice of identifying the times and locations where specific crimes occur.

“Within the organization, everyone has been willing and wanting to provide the best services they can,” McCosker said. “We’ve fine tuned what our message is going to be and we have an understanding of where we are going to.”