Italy Police Department receives prestigious award

Image: Audience for May 12th Council Meeting

Audience for May 12th Council Meeting

Over a year ago the Italy Police Department began a program to prove it’s compliance to independent assessors of the Texas Law Enforcement Best Practices Committee.  The audit is a voluntary program.

An audit was executed to investigate all of Italy’s police department policies, procedures, training and operations to meet the standards. An onsite inspection of the department was completed last March. 

The assessors report was taken to the committee comprised of 9 serving police chiefs from around the state who reviewed the report and voted to reward recognized status. The vote was unanimous.  The Italy Police Department proved that it meets or exceeds all standards. 

A representative of the Texas Police Chiefs Association and a member of the Texas Law Enforcement Best Practices Committee, Chief Mike Sullivan of the Farmersville Police Department, spoke to the audience and council about the audit they conducted at the Italy Police Department.

The Committee is dedicated to improving the delivery of police services. The Committee developed an accreditation program such as is developed for schools universities schools and hospitals.  The Committee comprised 166 very difficult standards for the evaluation. 

There are currently 2,400 law enforcement agencies in Texas and only 100 agencies have achieved recognized status.  Italy was recognized as the 97th recognized agency.

Sullivan presented Chief Hill with a certificate of compliance from the Texas Law Enforcement Best Practices. Four years from now the committee will re-evaluate to verify Italy Police Department is complying with the standards.

Chief Hill recognized his officers for working hard to get the department ready for the audit. He gave them a coin called a challenge coin. Hill explained the background of the challenge coin.

The coin came about from a pilot shot down in WWII behind enemy lines. The pilot had to make his way to France, so he wore civilian clothing to mix in with the locals. He was about to get shot when he presented them with a coin. Instead of shooting him they gave him a glass of wine because he was one of them, they thought because of the coin. Ever since then the coin is referred to as the challenge coin.

If you have your coin and are challenged by someone asking if you have your coin, they have to buy you a drink. If you don’t have your coin, you have to buy them a drink.

Chief Hill had coins made to signify the recognition received from the Texas Law Enforcement Best Practices Committee and he presented a coin to each police officer. Chief Hill especially complimented Sue Lauhoff, the administrator for the police department, for her part in organizing the audit for this very special award.

Ellis County Sheriff, Johnny Brown present at the council meeting Monday night was also given a coin by Hill who commented on Sheriff Brown’s support of the Italy Police Department. Chief Hill said Brown has been there for the Italy Police Department for help with equipment, people and helping out with calls without question.

Two $500 Scholarships were presented to Italy High school students, Coral McCarthy and Ryisha Copeland from the DCI Going Green Scholarship Fund.

Mayor Hobbs declared May 12-18 National Nursing Home week for the city of Italy. Trinity Mission was presented with this proclamation.

Mayor Hobbs declared May 11-17 as Police week in the city of Italy to recognize fallen officers.

Billy Ray Turner commented on an incident regarding his nephew who was stopped and given a ticket between Milford and Italy. Turner’s nephew’s car was also impounded and towed by Big Daddy’s towing service. Turner admitted his nephew was at fault and was not complaining about the fact that he received a ticket or that his car was towed. Turner’s complaint was the price of the towing and impounding for 1 day at a cost of almost $400. Turner just wanted someone to work with his nephew on the price.

Paul Perry, owner of Big Daddy’s, addressed Turner about the towing charge and said his prices are middle of the road in comparison.

Big Daddy’s request to be put on rotation was replied to with no action taken by the City Council.

Congratulations were given to newly elected council members, Paul Cockerham and Steven Farmer. Goodbyes and well wishes were given to Dennis Perkins. Bruce Uttley was not present at this council meeting.