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Communicating With Our Residents
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Communicating with our Residents

    Some of us embrace every new technological advance presented to us, while others are dragged kicking and screaming into the new way of things. Whether it’s keeping track of your social calendar on your smart phone, or texting your child’s teacher, smart phones, the Internet, social media, tweets, and pins are here to stay. That is why Clearfield City leaders are making adjustments in how the city communicates with its residents.

e-newsletter
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  The July newsletter will be the last hard copy issue mailed to residents and businesses in the current format. Instead, those who provide their email address will be sent a monthly link to the city newsletter; the newsletter will also be posted on the city website and shared via social media. The format of the utility bill will also change to allow for additional information.
  “This will not only save the city significantly on the annual cost of printing and bulk mailing,” said Clearfield City Mayor Mark Shepherd, “it will also provide us with the ability to provide more timely information in the monthly newsletter.”
  The current hard copy of the newsletter, which is typically eight to twelve pages long, has to be written approximately five to six weeks before it’s mailed. An e-newsletter can be written and distributed electronically within the same week.
  For those without access to the Internet, a limited number of printed copies of the city newsletter - condensed to a two-page format - will be available, starting in August, at the city building, as well as the Clearfield Aquatic Center.

city website
  The city is in the process of revamping the city’s website. The new format will be more user-friendly, providing site visitors easy access to city information relevant to their needs. Identifying our core users, why they visit our website, and what questions they want answered, have helped staff create a new streamlined homepage that will be easy to navigate.
  “Whether you want to locate your business in Clearfield, register your child for a swim class, or find out how much it costs to purchase a dog license, our new website will make it easier to find what you’re looking for,” said Natalee Flynn, Clearfield’s Public Relations Coordinator overseeing the website project.
  “It is a complicated process, involving all of the city departments, and we want to make sure that it’s done right. Luckily, we’re on the tail end of the process, and are planning to go live with the new website this summer,” continued Flynn.
  After a software development company was awarded the contract for the project, city staff and elected officials created a wish list, including input from residents, of what the new website should look like. The city and City Councilmembers have used Facebook, posting website design mockups, to elicit feedback from the public. A website Project Team meets almost weekly to ensure that the process is staying on track with the goals originally set forth by city leadership.
  Because of the city’s emphasis on economic development, this component is being integrated into the design of the new website; ensuring prospective businesses are clear on what Clearfield has to offer.  However, whether you’re a business, resident or visitor to the city, our hope is you’ll find the new website a valuable resource. 
  Also, the Clearfield Community Services Department recently unveiled a new registration software program, making it much simpler for recreation and Clearfield Aquatic Center patrons to register for their programs and to reserve park pavilions. The new city website will link to this new registration program, accessed via www.reconline.org, and provide more information about the Clearfield Aquatic Center, which typically has the most hits on the current city website.

social media
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  The city has been using Facebook and Twitter for at least two years, and recently added a Pinterest account. The city uses both Facebook and Twitter to communicate general information, upcoming city events, information on emergency situations, safety tips, and more. The new city website will link live feeds to the city’s social media accounts, and the city will be adding a You Tube channel to the mix as well. 
  “If you’re not following any of the city accounts, we encourage you to do so, since it is the first place we go to communicate vital public information, when needed,” said Marliss Scott, Clearfield’s Public Relations Coordinator overseeing the city’s social media. “This is a way for our residents to have access to the city, and start a dialog.” 
  In addition to the city’s Twitter account, the Clearfield Police Department, and the Recreation Division both have accounts; and the city, the Clearfield Community Arts Center and the Recreation Division all have Facebook pages.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 March 2014 )
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A New Approach to Crime Prevention
Wednesday, 22 January 2014
A New Approach to Crime Prevention

     The Clearfield Police Department is serious about deterring crime.  In fact, they’ve taken a new approach to curtailing it. .. and that approach is affectionately known as the “Armadillo.”1

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     The recently unveiled Clearfield City Police Department Armadillo is a Nuisance Property Surveillance Vehicle that will be placed in known nuisance areas around Clearfield. Placing such a vehicle in these areas is an economical approach to deterring crime, and was originally implemented by the Peoria Police Department in Illinois seven years ago. Clearfield City Police Chief Greg Krusi first learned about the Armadillo program while attending a police conference in 2010.
     “The Peoria Police Department was looking for a solution on how to handle quality of life issues plaguing most communities, such as loud music, littering, loitering, disorderly conduct, unsupervised and ill-mannered youth, drug and nuisance homes, and so on,” said Krusi. “Most departments don’t have the manpower available to sit in a neighborhood hoping to catch or deter the culprits.”
     Originally, the Peoria Police Department parked an unmanned, old police car in front of a known drug house, with the intent of disrupting the drug trafficking. The next day the car was found badly vandalized. It was determined that it wasn’t the tactic that failed, but the vulnerability of the vehicle.
     The department came up with the idea of utilizing an older reinforced truck that had been donated to the police department, and had been nicknamed “Armadillo” because of its tough exterior. The rest, as they say, is history. The program was so successful that Peoria eventually added a second Armadillo and police departments across the nation either have, or are in the process of implementing their own Nuisance Property Surveillance Vehicle program. Clearfield Police Department is the first to do so in the state of Utah.  
     According to a report* by the Peoria Police Department, problem properties require a great deal of police resources, and if little problems are ignored they can become bigger problems. It is common to find that the greatest negative influences within the area can be traced to a select few, known problem households or retail businesses. 
     “Nuisance behavior can undermine the quality of life of a community,” explained Krusi. “That can be frustrating, not only for the neighborhoods, but our police department as well. We don’t have enough staff, and this program provides us a way to be proactive.”
     As a taxpayer, you may be asking how the purchase and outfitting of a specialty vehicle can be an economically sound investment by a city the size of Clearfield? You may be surprised to learn that the Clearfield Police Department was able to purchase a retired vehicle for just $10.
     “Getting this program going has been a long process,” said Clearfield City Assistant Police Chief Mike Stenquist. “Through a cooperative effort between the city’s Public Works shops, and several local vendors we were able to turn a Brinks truck, that didn’t run, into a law enforcement vehicle, and at very low cost. Most of the work was donated, and we were able to use grants to get the vehicle from Aurora, Colorado to Clearfield, and to help set up the power supply and cameras; our City Shops did a lot of work on it; and one of our officers helped with the vehicle decal design and cameras.”
     Two vendors, Perks Auto Body, located in Clearfield, and Jack’s Do It Shop and Upholstery in Salt Lake City, were recognized for their donated ‘transformation’ services at a November City Council meeting. 
     Before placing the Armadillo in an area, the Clearfield Police Department will determine whether there have been drug trafficking complaints, chronic police reports, quality of life complaints, traffic violations, citizen/public complaints, and code enforcement problems in the area. If the property happens to be a drug house, the presence of the Armadillo should deter customers. The landlord/property owner will be notified of the Armadillo’s deployment and the reason it is there. 
      “Even though the Armadillo is outfitted with surveillance cameras, this is no different than how our police cars are equipped,” explained Chief Krusi. “Citizen’s rights are protected, and we follow the same regulations. We are hoping that this program will provide an added level of comfort for those living in problem areas.”
     The success of the Peoria Police Department's program has been overwhelming, and public reaction was met with 95% favor. The Clearfield City Police Department will track the effectiveness of the Armadillo by analyzing calls-for-service, police crime reports, code enforcement complaints preceding the placement of the Armadillo compared to data collected after the Armadillo is removed.
* “Armadillos: Starting a Trend,” Peoria Police Department, Chief Steven M. Settingsgaard.
1 Photo provided courtesy of Wendy Garcia (@IntoRainbowz)

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 January 2014 )
 
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Thursday, 09 June 2011
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