Chat with the Chief

Alexandra Cannon, Journal Staff Reporter and Chief of Police, Chris Henson

Cannon: Your phone was probably ringing off the hook all day long Tuesday, January 20th with the electricity and natural gas outages because when there is some kind of citywide problem like this, you balance the roles of City Administrator and Chief of Police. Do you think that makes it easier to handle these kinds of things?

Henson: I do because it all goes hand in hand. Quality of life issues directly affect the police department, and all the things that we do obviously directly affect the town, so when it came to that, I wasn’t doing this on behalf of the City or City Hall and that on behalf of the police department, I was just working to give back to the city of Groesbeck. This comes off as almost silly, but we're not a 24-hour agency. The phone has been ringing and ringing, and it’s time to go home because our families are cold too. My wife and children don't have heat either so we're trying to make accommodations, but I felt bad because I wasn't going to be here to answer the phone. So I forwarded [police department] phone calls to my cell phone. So I'm at home, you know, midnight, one o'clock in the morning trying to go to bed, answering the phone because people are calling to say their heat's still not on, so I’d take down their address and relay that information. We would have the elderly call and say ‘I don't know what to tell this 800 number, I don't know how to get them,’ so we’re making calls for them. We didn't have to do that because this was not public works breaking a water line, this is a separate utility. This was a problem that was being addressed by Atmos. But the people here want a face or a voice or someone that they can talk to. And you know, we agree that we will be those people. So we fielded a lot a lot of phone calls and we did a lot of phone calls on behalf of customers, and you know what, we'd do it again.

 

Cannon: The last time we did the Chattin with the Chief, Y'all had just got the crime map up and going. What kind of response have you gotten since then?

Henson: It's been good. We had a little downtime with them because LexisNexis had some data importing issues that they had to work out. So some of our stuff wasn't showing up on the map. But the people that I've talked to and I've directed toward it like it. It shows what's going on because we're very transparent and we're not here to hide anything that we will do. We want you to know, this is happening across the street or here on your block, so it's good.

 

Cannon: Is there a way for y'all to kind of monitor how many or how often people are checking the site?

Henson: Not with this version I don't have the capability to look in there and see how many people look at it today or how many people have signed up for email alerts. This is the free version offered by LexisNexis, so I think once you start getting into the paid models there are more things you can do. We're just not there yet. There's also an app for the Tip 411, but you're looking at about $3,000 per year just to get that done. There are some costs there that we didn't anticipate so we can't do that part yet.

 

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Groesbeck Journal! You can also subscribe online or call 254-729-5103.

Groesbeck Journal

P.O. Box 440
Groesbeck, TX 76642
Phone: 254-729-5103
Fax: 254-729-0362