Spotlight: Russellville Police Chief William V. Shifflett
AT A GLANCE...
Appointed Chief of Russellville Police Department in 2011
Bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University
Graduate of the Department of Criminal Justice Training Basic Training Class No. 225
Southern Police Institute AOC Class No. 112
FBI National Academy 230th session
HAVING MOVED THROUGH THE RANKS TO BECOME CHIEF, WHAT IS THE MOST POSITIVE CHANGE YOU HAVE SEEN IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, YOUR COMMUNITY AND YOUR AGENCY?
One of the more positive changes I have seen in my law enforcement career has been the implementation of the Police Officer Professional Standards. To me, that has allowed Kentucky to move ahead of most states in advancing the police profession. When I look at policing in Kentucky, I do not see a lot of the issues other states are dealing with or have been dealing with for the past few years. I think Kentucky has just set a high standard for its law enforcement officers, and it has paid off.
As far as positive changes in my community, there have been many. I am fortunate to work for a mayor and city council who care about law enforcement and the officers who serve this community. The most positive change from a community standpoint is it is more fiscally responsible, which has led to a positive environment not just in the police department but community wide. Within the agency, we have seen a lot of positive changes, mostly dealing with technology. We have been fortunate enough to be able to acquire a lot of new technology, which has made officers more efficient in the performance of their duties.
WHAT IS THE TEEN POLICE ACADEMY?
The Teen Police Academy is a one-week basic police academy geared for teenagers 13 to 18. Sgt. Mary Lynn Moore came up with the idea in an effort to help bridge the gap between police and our younger citizens. The Teen Police Academy introduces teenagers to police operations. During the week, they begin everyday with physical fitness and then will either have classroom instruction or run scenarios such as traffic stops or building searches. It is an all-day session. This was our second year, and our class size tripled from the first year, so we are hoping to add more participants in the future.
HOW DOES HAVING SWORN FEMALE OFFICERS ON YOUR STAFF BENEFIT YOUR AGENCY?
Any agency that can show diversity in it’s ranks better reflects the community it serves. Having female officers merely reflects our community. Whether male or female officers, providing a good work environment, and training and equipping them is a benefit to the agency and the community.
What single word and/or phrase do you think best describes your agency, and what keeps you unified?
I would have to say we are more like a team than a department. The officers here have embraced working together. Our officers try to build one another up. If an officer is lacking in an area they really try to help him or her out. They are a very selfless group of officers who are willing to sacrifice for one another, and that makes them very effective when it comes to doing their jobs.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR WORKFORCE MOTIVATED, SKILLED AND PROFESSIONAL?
I have emphasized training. We do a lot of in-house training that revolves around the perishable skills such as driving, shooting and fighting. The training has morphed into team building and the officers look forward to the training. Another training we do is Police One Academy. They can watch the web-based videos and take the test when it best suits them.
HOW DID YOUR AGENCY’S PHYSICAL FITNESS INITIATIVE COME ABOUT?
Three years ago, I mandated that every certified officer participate in a physical-fitness test on an annual basis. As a department, we would complete the entry-level POPS standard. I did not make it punitive, meaning you didn’t have to pass, everyone just had to participate. This, too, has turned into a team building session for the department.
WHAT ARE YOUR AGENCY’S SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM GOALS?
My short-term goals are to continue improving our fleet and maintaining the equipment and standards of hiring that we started. My long-term goal in the future is to enhance our training to have officers specialized in specific areas to help us deal with more complex crimes and issues.