New Developments at Morro Bay PD

MORRO BAY Chief of Police Jody Cox has lots of irons in the fire at the Morro Bay Police Department. Concentrating on relations between the community and the department is uppermost on his mind these days and there are two new developments in the works.

“A great way to learn how your police department works,” Cox said, “is to attend our upcoming Citizens Police Academy.”

Cox is working on the curriculum for a six to 10-week course that would instruct participants in all the different specialties of the Morro Bay Police Department. Instructors will be those officers performing in those areas of specialties and a concentration on policy and procedures will be part of the course.

The classes would meet one evening a week for about two to three hours.

“Yes,” Cox said, “there could be homework.”

Taking home some pages of policy or other materials to read will figure in as part of the course.

“A course like this will aid in eliminating some misconceptions that the public may have about how and why we do what we do, it helps to create a better perspective” Cox explained.

The course is offered to the public and will be held at the Morro Bay Police Department. Interested people will have to fill out an application to apply for the course and Cox plans to get it going no later than April or May. Chief Cox states that many of the people who have attended the Citizen’s Police Academy later join the Morro Bay Police Volunteer Group and he hopes to continue that process.

Another development Cox is working on is the establishment of a Chief’s Advisory Group. This group would consist of some local business people, some clergy, school personnel from both high school and grammar school as well as active community members.

“I want to include a cross-section of our community in this group,” Cox said.

The Advisory group would share their individual views of law enforcement with the object of improving community relations with the police force. Cox already has some community relations in place with early morning Coffee with a Cop meetings held at a variety of town eateries.

In November of 2018, Chief Cox joined with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department and other partner agencies in establishing the RAVE Panic Button Smartphone App at local schools. This app has been implemented at all the schools around San Luis Obispo County. It is designed to immediately alert law enforcement of an active shooter or critical incident on a school campus.

“We established a geofence system around the schools, such as the perimeter of the school, around the cafeteria, and other areas,” Cox explained.

The app when pulled up on a smartphone shows several buttons: Active Shooter in red, Fire, Medical Emergency, and more. School faculty and personnel are equipped with the app on their phones and in the event of a critical incident on a school premises, just the push of the button immediately connects them to 911 Dispatch. Also, every officer receives the call notification on their phone to facilitate a quicker emergency response. With GPS in place, the police can see right away the actual location of the incident or an active shooter. “Along with notifying us of an incident,” Cox said, “the app allows notification to other school faculty and personnel at the same time.”

Using Department of Homeland Security Grants, the Sheriff’s office was able to buy 3,200 licenses to supply every school employee at most county schools.

“We haven’t had an incident at a Morro Bay school as of yet,” Cox said, “and we hope to never  have one, but we are now better prepared and equipped to handle it if it does occur.”

Stay tuned! This writer will be following up in this publication soon with a series of articles about the functions of the Morro Bay Police Department because she looks forward to attending the Citizens Police Academy!


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