By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Several topics were discussed Thursday by the Citizens Public Safety Oversight Committee during their monthly meeting, but the most heavily discussed topic was a Norman Police program with Norman Public Schools.
T.E.A.M., or Teaching Educating And Mentoring, is a school-based “law related” education program taught by specially trained law enforcement officers. It is a proactive effort to make schools and communities safer, promote responsible citizenship and encourage positive character traits, according to Norman police.
Officer Thomas Zermeno said many schools have requested the program, but it can often be difficult to find the manpower to do it as frequently as they would like.
T.E.A.M. curriculum is split up according to age or grade level and includes lessons such as what 911 is, gun safety, fire safety, Internet safety, recognizing crime and danger and other lessons.
The program’s goal is to unite educators, students and law enforcement in preventing crime. It also helps children who may typically see police officers in a negative light to view them in a more positive light, a committee member said.
Many of the board members discussed options to help give the program more manpower, including involving other agencies and the possibility of volunteers or getting retired police officers to help with the program.
As far as other updates with the police department, Lt. Jim Keesee said 11 are in the academy, six officers are in training and there are 28 vacancies. The department also has been busy with a lot of community events, including National Night Out, Red Ribbon Week and Citizen’s Police Academy, Keesee said.
Chief of Police Keith Humphrey said they also are excited about the upcoming holiday season and are getting security detail ready.
Norman City Finance Director Anthony Francisco also wanted to remind those shopping for the holiday season to shop locally. Purchasing items online doesn’t contribute to the city’s sales tax and public safety sales tax, he said.
Francisco also reported that the cost and construction of the Smalley Army Reserve Center building is on budget and on schedule for police to be moved in by January.
The building on West Lindsey Street used to serve as a military facility with a weapons locker. Police and fire investigators will use it for evidence storage, a crime lab and other police-related activities.
Updates from the fire department included receiving a new fire engine for Station 6. Chief James Fullingim said they are expecting the arrival of the new engine today, and it should be in service within three weeks.
The fire department also will place an order for tankers for Stations 8 and 9 in about three weeks, he said.
With seven vacancies at the fire department, Fullingim said they also plan on beginning a new academy this spring. By that time, the department expects to have about nine vacancies, he said.
Applications for the new academy will be accepted until Nov. 27.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.