In Southlake, safety and security are two of the City’s highest strategic priorities and new investments are proposed within the FY 2019 budget to advance a number of safety goals.
People who live, work or play in any community want to be able to go about their days without threat, injury or property loss. The degree to which they are safe and secure in their homes, or when they are out and about living their lives is often the result of efforts made by the local municipality.
“Becoming a victim of a crime or experiencing a significant health crisis can change lives forever,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “It’s our aim to minimize the risk, and if something does happen, to make sure we are exceedingly helpful in setting things back to normal.”
To ensure a high level of public safety, the City is focused on a number of key initiatives for the coming year, including improving school safety, ensuring that police and fire personnel have the equipment they need to perform excellently, and even funds to minimize the risk of mosquito-borne illness.
“Campus safety is a top priority of the Southlake Police Department. Our strong partnerships with Southlake families and Carroll ISD has helped create new opportunities to enhance school safety while keeping school faculty and our students focused on learning in a safe, protected environment,” said Police Chief James Brandon.
The Crime Control and Prevention District Board of Directors has allocated more than $500,000 from the District’s half-cent sales tax revenue to fund school safety initiatives. A task force is currently studying best practices and will identify ideas to assist Chief Brandon and the Police Department with their work. These initiatives will complement the work already underway by Southlake’s 12 School Resource Officers (SROs).
The PD will also make technology purchases to aid in investigative processes and protective gear for officers.
The Fire Department has also reviewed their programs and equipment so they are ready to respond as needed.
“Readiness is about ongoing training and having the equipment and materials we need to get the job done,” said Fire Chief Michael Starr. “This fiscal year we’ll be focused on emergency management planning and tabletop exercises, managing mosquito threats, and general training.” In addition, the Department will be purchasing a replacement fire truck.
Funds are also included in the budget for workplace safety and occupational training, designed to eliminate costly accidents and lost time, and safety at City facilities and parks.
“We have an important obligation to be vigilant and well-prepared. The resources provided through the budget are well-considered investments into the safety of our beautiful community,” said Yelverton.
The Southlake City Council confirmed City Manager Shana Yelverton’s appointment of James Brandon as Southlake’s new Police Chief at the June 2, 2015 City Council meeting.
Brandon, who has close to 20 years of law enforcement experience, was most recently the City’s Assistant Police Chief. Prior to that, he served in Corpus Christi rising to the rank of Captain.
“James Brandon’s time in Corpus Christi gave him the necessary background to lead the Southlake Police Department,” said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “As Chief, he will use that experience to grow the City’s police force and most importantly work with City residents and businesses to achieve the best possible safety and security standards,” Yelverton added.
“The police profession is facing challenges like we haven’t seen in many years,” said Brandon. “Those challenges can only be overcome with a day-in day-out commitment to the people we serve. I am honored to be working with a group of employees and for a City whose residents appreciate open and honest conversation.”
Brandon’s experience includes Captain of the Corpus Christi Organized Crime Unit, Swat Team and Bomb Squad. Since coming to Southlake, he has worked closely with the Department’s 73 sworn and civilian personnel to help reduce auto burglaries by 33%, residential burglaries by nearly 40%, and traffic accidents by 13%. He was also instrumental in working with federal law enforcement agencies after the 2013 Town Square shooting and Carroll Independent School District regarding the Southlake’s School Resource Officer program.
“Southlake’s School Resource Officer program is a terrific example of what can happen when community ideas and police know-how come together,” said Brandon. “Another example is how police are working to improve the commute even as necessary road construction projects take place,” he added. “I am excited to work with the Mayor, the City Council, the City Manager and the staff of the Police Department on the initiatives that are important to Southlake.”
Chief Brandon’s appointment is effective immediately.