Officers gearing up to serve, protect

—Cresco Police Officers are dressed for a myriad of situations
CRESCO - There are some occupations that see humanity at its worst and at its best. Law enforcement is one of those careers.
In the past year, the officers of Cresco Police Department have had to cover drug arrests, a murder, suicides, standoffs with suspects, accidents, welfare checks, deaths, assaults and much more of the ugly side of life.
But they have also helped motorists, joked with locals and sponsored National Night Out.
Whether it is a seemingly innocent traffic stop or a confrontation with a violent person, officers need to be diligent in assessing the situation. Cresco Police Department’s seven full-time and two part-time officers, go through training to learn how to deal with different circumstances.
But they are also equipped with gear to help them out.
One of the latest and most useful pieces of gear the department has is the body cam. Chief Tim Ruroden noted Cresco officers have been using the body cam for about two years and have found it to be a useful tool in court cases. “Defendants try to say, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and we have them on video.”
The units are also used as a training device . . . showing officers how they should have reacted to a situation. In addition, looking back at the videos can help officers recall the incident when writing incident reports.
He did admit this is still the honeymoon period for the equipment. “The battery has a limited length of life and storage capacity. Sometimes it shuts down, and we only get half of a video.”
Ruroden is starting to look at upgrading the equipment they do have. “We’re still trying to find the perfect one — one that has extended life, is rugged, has good night vision capabilities and is easy for the officer to use. We’re researching to see what works and doesn’t work.”
After two years of operating the current body cams, officers are proficient, but simple is always best, especially in some situations. “Right now it is second nature for officers to turn on the unit as soon as they turn on the sirens,” the chief said.
There are still kinks to work out, such as when not to video an incident, which includes locker room or hospital settings. But for the most part, the chief said there are more pros than cons.
He adds the video feed keeps the officers in check. He noted, as with any job, officers can get complacent, thinking it’s just another stop. It only takes one time, though.
“The videos can be used as a training tool. You can point out that as the officer approached the car, he didn’t put a hand on the car and didn’t stand behind the door pillar, which are safety issues,” Ruroden explained.
The units cost about $400 each, and Ruroden says they are “well worth the price. Overall, we are very happy with them.”
Other equipment officers carry on their person include:
• Pepper spray
• Taser — Six officers opt to carry a taser. Each unit costs about $1,000.
• Bullet resistant vest
• 40 Cal. gun with three magazines
• Handcuffs — Some officers have chosen to carry two sets of cuffs.
• Portable radio
•Baton or asp —Not all officers carry a baton.
• Glove pouch — Not all officers carry rubber gloves on their person, but all have them in their vehicle.
• Knife pouch
• Microphone for car cam
The aforementioned equipment can weigh between 20-25 pounds for each officer.
Law enforcement personnel have got to think on their feet during various crises. Ruroden relates, “We wear so many hats — law enforcement, first responder, counselor. We have to look at each situation differently to determine the best approach.”
That is why officers choose to carry separate tools to keep them and the public safe. In a split second, they have to decide if pepper spray is the best choice, or perhaps  a baton will be enough to squelch a circumstance. For more serious situations, the lawman may have to choose between the taser and the gun.
Some of the equipment stored in their vehicles include:
• Radio equipment
• Computer
• First aid kit
• Finger printing  paraphernalia
• Evidence-collection bags
• Tape measures
• Safety cones
• Fire extinguishers
• Clip boards
• Shot guns
Members of the public should feel safer knowing the Cresco PD has their backs.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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