In recent months, public safety has emerged as a top issue for the Belton community, with more than 3,000 citizens joining the “Belton/RayPec MO Crime Watch” group on Facebook to discuss crime and improve public safety. The City and the Belton Police Department take very seriously the concerns posted on Facebook. That’s why I — along with Police Chief Person, Councilman VanWinkle and City Manager Barton — have met with citizens from each Ward to discuss and create programs designed to respond to the issues raised by the Facebook group. This grassroots effort has resulted in several citizens stepping up to join the newly created Better Belton Community (BBC) task force and advocacy group.
In addition to the BBC, the City and Police Department want the public to be aware of additional ways they can be involved in actively creating a safer Belton:
- Citizens interested in getting involved in public safety can apply to join the all-Citizens Police Academy (CPA) to be held this fall. The Academy will offer a first-hand view of modern policing while teaching participants what to look for in their own neighborhoods as they become the boots on the ground for local police. The deadline to apply for the CPA is fast approaching on October 1, 2018. To download an application, head to Belton.org and navigate to the Police Department’s page.
- Belton Police is working to open the channels of communication with the public through its Facebook page and through the TIPS hotline at 816-348-4499. In addition, the public can stay informed of active crime scenes and traffic updates through the Everbridge emergency notification system. If you haven’t yet signed up for Everbridge updates, you may do so at www.casscountyesb.com.
- Finally, with the help and active engagement of our citizens, there is a renewed renaissance and commitment to our Belton Neighborhood Watch program. We encourage residents to get involved, be educated and know the best ways to respond and report suspected criminal activity. Belton Neighborhood Watch started out as a program of neighbors watching other neighbor’s property during times when the occupant is away. A police officer patrolling your community may not recognize a stranger in your yard, but your neighbors would.
With the current hiring freeze in place due to budget restrictions, there are fewer boots on the ground in Belton residential areas. That’s why citizen involvement is essential to combat crime. By cooperating with each other and the police, neighbors can help fight crime in their community in the most effective way – “Before It Begins”!
It is this active engagement of our Community that our City will benefit and keep public safety in the forefront to actively provide protection for our citizens, businesses and visitors to Belton. On November 6, Belton voters will be asked to support a Half-Cent Sales Tax for Public Safety.
If approved, the tax will provide up to $1.6 million per year to fund salaries and benefits for additional Belton Police officers, firefighters and medics, as well as new equipment.
I understand new taxes are never popular, but public safety is at the heart of what we do. I am so happy and proud we are working together for a Better Belton Community!
Jeff Davis, Mayor of Belton