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The original item was published from 5/10/2023 3:54:00 PM to 8/17/2023 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: May 16, 2023

[ARCHIVED] New police chief brings multilayered approach to public service

Chuck Young

I am truly humbled by the opportunity to serve Victoria as your police chief. Ever since my promotion was announced, I’ve received an outpouring of support from local leaders and from the community. I’m looking forward to leading this top-tier police department and improving our service even further.

Like my predecessor, I am committed to reducing crime and the fear of crime, and the Victoria Police Department has built a strong foundation in this regard. Last year, we saw a 24% reduction in violent crime, with nearly 100 fewer violent crimes and 200 fewer property crimes. Although it may seem difficult to continue reducing crime each year, that’s exactly what we plan to do.

VPD also consistently meets the gold standard for respecting residents and protecting their rights. We are one of only a handful of agencies to be recognized for three consecutive four-year terms (most recently in 2021) by the Texas Police Chiefs Association for our compliance with 170 best practices to facilitate effective service, reduce risk and protect the rights of residents.

Because these standards are updated regularly, being recognized requires an ongoing commitment. We will continue to examine and revise our policies and practices to ensure we are providing the best possible service.

I’m also passionate about implementing technology, since it is a true force multiplier that lets us work more effectively and efficiently. During my time as deputy chief, I spearheaded an effort to start using license plate readers. This is huge because it lets us identify vehicles we should be concerned about—for instance, if a vehicle has been reported stolen, if the owner is a wanted felon, or even if an Amber Alert or Silver Alert has been issued. 

Our ability to access crucial information about crimes will be elevated with the addition of our real-time crime center as part of the new public safety headquarters. Personnel in this center will use data-driven intelligence to compile critical and timely information for our investigations. This data can then be shared with our officers in the field as well as other law enforcement agencies.

Community engagement is another key part of building a safer community. Our Community Engagement Unit continues to expand its outreach at community events, and having a Spanish-speaking officer present at these events helps us ensure that we’re reaching all of our residents.

Community outreach is a great way to educate the public on the basics of crime prevention, such as “lock, take and hide”—that is, you should lock your vehicle and either take your valuables with you or hide them out of plain sight.

Many people mistakenly believe that they should leave their cars unlocked so that thieves won’t break their windows. However, the vast majority of vehicle burglaries happen in unlocked vehicles, so locking your vehicle is a powerful deterrent. Also, if you have a vehicle with push button start, don’t leave your key fob in the glove compartment; it may seem convenient to start your car this way, but a car thief can do the exact same thing.

Like many departments, we are facing an uphill battle with retention. The good news is that we are getting plenty of qualified applicants; however, we need to make sure they don’t go somewhere else after we’ve trained them. Providing education and development opportunities can help with this, as well as providing a positive and supportive environment. 

A modern approach to public safety requires attention to many different factors—crime prevention, enforcement, technology, public engagement, officer retention—but it’s important to remember that all of these different undertakings are part of the same goal: serving the community. As your police chief, I am committed to using a comprehensive approach to keep our residents safe.

Chief Chuck Young is the chief of the Victoria Police Department.

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