About the Department
The City of Mason Police Department is a full-service, internationally accredited municipal police agency, first accredited in 1997. Every three years, the department must undergo an in-depth on-site assessment to maintain this international accreditation.
The accreditation process verifies that the department continues to meet specifically defined professional standards. Administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA), the accreditation program requires agencies to comply with 189 state-of-the-art standards in four basic areas: policy and procedures, administration, operations, and support services. The last reaccreditation was awarded in July 2015.
The department employs forty-six full-time sworn police officers, including the chief, two assistant chiefs, four lieutenants, and five sergeants. Additionally, the department has six non-sworn support personnel, including two court security officers. The City of Mason Police Department operates 18 fully equipped marked police cruisers, eight unmarked police cars, and one D.A.R.E. car. In addition, the department operates several special purpose vehicles, including motorcycles, bicycles, and SegwaysTM. The department patrols five community policing districts to which officers are assigned for a period of six months.
Mason police officers average 14 years of professional police experience. The average tenure of management experience is 34 years. Both assistant chiefs and all six lieutenants are graduates of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command. The Assistant Chief of Operations holds a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice. The Assistant Chief of Support Services holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He is a certified Law Enforcement Executive, a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and a graduate of the Police Executive Leadership College. Chief of Police Ron Ferrell holds a Doctorate degree, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Police Executive Leadership College, and the Southern Police Institute. He is a Certified Law Enforcement Executive.
Mason’s community policing efforts fall into both traditional and contemporary categories, including selective traffic problem-area enforcement and use of the speed monitor signs throughout the city. The department provides community oriented programs that include Neighborhood Watch, D.A.R.E., a School Resource Officer, and a Citizens Police Academy.
Mobile data computers are in all marked cruisers. These computers are linked to the Warren County Communications Center, the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) and to the department’s records management system. Technology allows officers to receive instant information while in the field, thereby reducing demands on non-sworn support personnel and allowing officers to complete reports from the field.
The Mason Police Department is a major partner in the Warren County Tactical Response Unit, a joint law enforcement initiative to handle high profile, high-risk threats and acts of violence.
The most important ingredient to effective law enforcement today is communication between the members of the community and the officers hired to serve them. The Police Department encourages residents and businesses to become acquainted with officers of the department and seek their support to enhance the quality of life enjoyed by Mason residents.
In partnership with the community, policing with honor, integrity, and compassion. In this mission, we hold as our core values: integrity, honor, compassion, community partnership, dedication, and honesty.
Description of Services
Patrol is composed of three lieutenants, three sergeants, and twenty-three officers. One lieutenant and one sergeant are assigned to each of three shifts, and the patrol officers are divided among the three shifts. The primary function of the officers assigned to patrol is to respond to calls for service, conduct preliminary investigations of offenses, and perform traffic enforcement activities. In addition to the above duties, these officers provide numerous additional services to the public, including vacant house checks, well-being checks, opening locked vehicles, and escorts.
Two officers assigned to patrol also function as part of two canine teams maintained by the department. The officers and their canines track lost or missing persons, track suspects, search for narcotics, and perform building searches. A bomb-sniffing dog has recently been added to the K-9 team, further increasing their capabilities. The teams also provide public demonstrations, showcasing the capabilities of the dogs.
The investigations unit is composed of one sergeant and three officers assigned as detectives. Their primary function is to assist with preliminary investigations of serious criminal offenses and to conduct follow-up investigations as required. In addition, they conduct background investigations on new employees and provide basic forensic services to the department. At least one detective is on call 24 hours a day.
The traffic unit is composed of one sergeant and three officers whose primary function is to conduct traffic enforcement activities, respond to and investigate traffic crashes, and address specific areas of traffic concerns.
Support services is comprised of one Lieutenant and one patrol officer. Support services provide a variety of functions including: fleet management; training; planning; policy development and implementation; budgeting; coordination of extra duty details; managing the accreditation process, and handling the department’s property and evidence function. The Services lieutenant also supervises the records section, court security, and the DARE and the School Resource Officer Programs.
The records section consists of three civilian employees reporting to a police supervisor. The section is responsible for maintaining departmental records, including case files, crash investigations, the department's records management system, and other information. The section is also responsible for data entry for citations, crashes, and lockout services. Records clerks are the initial point of contact for citizens coming into or calling the police department, with most requests being handled at that level. Records clerks also provide fingerprinting services to the public. Customer service training and accountability are high priorities for these staff members.
The police department is responsible for providing security for Mason Municipal Court. The department provides two court security officers for this purpose. They provide security both for court employees and members of the public. The court security officers are also responsible for assisting in the transportation of prisoners to and from the Warren County Jail.
School Resource Officer
Since 1997, the City of Mason Police Department and the Mason City School District have partnered on the School Resource Officer (SRO) program for the district. The SRO provides a law enforcement presence in the school and helps educate students on a variety of prevention programs and topics. Presentations are made to students at various times on alcohol and drug prevention, DUI (driving under the influence) laws, careers in law enforcement, personal safety, search and seizure, the role of law enforcement in society, crime scene and fingerprint processing, and bullying prevention.
The School Resource Officer is primarily assigned to Mason High School, which houses nearly 3,000 students in grades 9 through 12. The program is jointly funded by the City of Mason and Mason City Schools.
The D.A.R.E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and curriculum targets sixth grade students at Mason Intermediate School and St. Susanna School. The program presents an anti-drug and violence curriculum that demonstrates the social, moral, and legal consequences of criminal behavior. This program is partnered in the schools as a component of the Health curriculum. The crime prevention efforts are reinforced through various extra-curricular activities that both support and are supported by the D.A.R.E. program. During the past school year, approximately 800 students received the D.A.R.E. curriculum. Since its inception in Mason in 1994, the program has instructed over 14,000 students.
The D.A.R.E. officer also provides a law enforcement presence at Mason Intermediate School. Besides being a presence in this school, the D.A.R.E. officer makes frequent visits to St. Susanna School, Mason City elementary and middle schools, and various pre-school and day care facilities. During these visits, the D.A.R.E. officer speaks to classes about a variety of topics, including stranger danger, Eddie Eagle gun safety, Too Smart to Start, poison safety, medication safety, how to handle an emergency, how to not become a victim, and general safety guidelines. A grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s office helps to fund this position.
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