Meridian Star

September 10, 2013

Strategy in combating crime

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Monday, a Meridian Star reporter was granted access to the weekly Meridian Police Department community status meeting, Comstat for short, by MPD Chief James Lee. Lee said the access was an effort to show the media, and the citizens of Meridian, that the department is working hard in fighting crime.

    "We have these meetings every week and it is our belief that we can get this crime rate to start going down by being aggressive in patrolling the areas where we see a heavy concentration of incidents," Lee said. "We are being proactive as much as we can."

    The police department has been criticized on social media websites for not reporting the location of crimes that have occurred within the city.

    Seated around a large conference table, Lee listened and asked questions as each department head from the MPD gave a status report in their various areas of responsibilities. But the first order of business was to see last week's crime stats.

    Capt. Dean Harper, commander of the MPD's Criminal Investigation Division, utilized a brief slide presentation that outlined the problem areas of Meridian. Going back two weeks, Harper showed how the areas in which the majority of crimes, namely commercial and residential burglaries, have shifted due in large part by the saturation of officers in any given area.

    "We have to be able to go from one area to another seamlessly," Lee said.

    Lee asked questions of his Patrol Division leaders and those of the department's Direct Action Response Team, DART, to see if there are other ways in which this issue can be addressed.

    Of course there area always the subject of the availability of manpower and where best to deploy them.

    "We are no different than any other department in that we could always use more officers," Lee said. "We are working toward getting more bodies on the streets but it will take time."