You only get one chance every year to start a new decade.
As we put the wraps on the decade of the 2010’s here in Osceola County, we’re asking local officials and “movers ‘n shakers” to reflect on the last year of this one and the first one of the new decade, the “Roaring ’20s”, and how we’re going to best usher it in.
Jeff O’Dell is the Police Chief of the Kissimmee Police Department. Protect and serve.
That’s the motto of local police forces. And you can’t spell “serve” without “service”.
For Kissimmee Police Department Chief Jeff O’Dell, he oversees an operation that is rooted in customer service. It’s rooted in people, and he staffs about 150 people who make a positive difference in the community.
Here are his thought’s on the past year, the one upcoming and what KPD might look like when we do this again in 2029.
What were KPD’s biggest wins in 2019?
“We’ve increased relationships and garnered support in the community. They’re the strongest they’ve ever been.
“We’ve added 10 School Resource Officer positions. That unit makes up about 5 percent of our agency. And we’ve made the commitment to staff charter schools as well as traditional schools, which some departments around the area aren’t doing. The School Board reimburses us $45,000 per position, but with benefits and outfitting with equipment, it can run three times that.
“Our department is in the strongest position of mirroring our community in staffing that it’s ever been. We truly look like the community we serve.”
What are you looking forward to in 2020?
“We’re a young department. There have been 44 promotions in my three-plus years in this position, so we’re making a huge focus on leadership training training. We have a new college-level training program we’re looking to get fully implemented next year.
“We’ll move into our new training facility next year. It will have an indoor firing range, and we’ll be able to use simulators set up real-life scenarios with night lighting for defensive tactics, and more. Before, working outdoors, in an eight-hour training session we might get in six hours of training because of weather and such.”
When you look at the end of the next decade, how do you think KPD will interact with the community?
“Technology certainly helps in the areas of efficiency, but I hope we don’t see too much automation in policing work. What we do is so heavily rooted in face-to-face relations. We put a lot of effort into those relationships, so I hope we can maintain a balance in what we do on the technology side to maintain that personal touch.”