Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Henderson Police Capt. Bobby Long clicked through PowerPoint slides showing tangled wires jutting out of a light pole, and then a manhole with the top popped off and the wires once again ripped and twisted.
Both slides, he explained to 10 residents Tuesday at the city’s first Talk Shop with Cops at the Henderson Multi-Generational Recreation Center, were the product of copper theft. Both incidents cost the city more than a thousand dollars to repair.
It’s not a new problem, but it’s one the police take seriously. Copper is everywhere, in the parks, in streetlights, air conditioning units, making it difficult to prevent the next theft. While residents voiced their own concerns, most left confident in the job their police department was doing.
Instead, it was the police department’s turn to ask for the public’s help.
“The goal of this meeting is for us to connect with the community,” Long said in the meeting. “The reality of the situation is when all is said and done, we need your help.”
Long began the first of three community meetings with a presentation on the department’s layout and the typical concerns most residents have such as auto-theft burglaries, graffiti, and why four patrol officers are required to pull someone over for speeding (because they never know if the person is dangerous, Long said).
Other officers in attendance also included tips to help cut down on those crimes from hiding a purse in the car to having police inspect the home to make suggestions to stop burglars. When the subject turned to the copper thefts, Long urged residents to call police immediately if they see wires sticking out or a non-city employee working on city property.
“That’s where we need your help,” Long said. “Call us and we’ll come out. That’s an important call we want to get to right away.”
After the presentation, the residents voiced their concerns and questions to the officers. One resident worried about the crime rate in his neighborhood, claiming he sees Henderson Police notifications for home burglaries every day.
Another resident said it was becoming impossible to go the speed limit on roads like Green Valley Parkway without being harassed by speeding drivers. Meanwhile, a third person expressed concern over graffiti in the parks.
Long and the other officers answered each question, and when they couldn’t answer they offered to follow up. Residents such as Norma Hemmingway, and Jim and Carole Thompson left satisfied and with a better understanding of their police department.
“There’s no more crimes (in our neighborhood) than anywhere else, like your burglaries and drugs, and some assaults,” Jim Thompson said. “But I think they do a good job.”
They know police can’t be everywhere at once. Sometimes it might take a simple call about a strange man working on a light pole to stop a theft.