Jasper police chief Danny Patton said Friday that his department has started a new initiative, the Retail and Alcohol Investigation Division or RAID.
“We wanted a way that we could better reach out to the businesses in Jasper,” Patton said. “We wanted to be able to listen to their concerns and also give them a specific person within our department as a contact.”
Detective Joe Herron, a 17-year JPD veteran, was named as the person over the RAID initiative and will serve as that contact person, Patton said.
“We have assigned Joe as the RAID officer, and I think he’s going to do a great job with it,” Patton added. “He has already been working with our businesses some, and I think he’s the right person for the job.”
Herron, who has spent the past 11 years in criminal investigations, said his new role would be a change, but he felt it would be a good move.
“I will still be working with the guys in investigations when we have business related crimes, but this job is going to allow me to do much more,” he said. “I plan to visit all our businesses in the city and build relationships with the people who own them and work at them. I feel like this is going to be something that can benefit everyone involved — the police department, the businesses and our city.”
The police department will be delivering surveys to Jasper businesses beginning this week, Patton said.
“We are going to give surveys to each business as a way for us to update information,” he said. “We also want to use these surveys to take concerns and needs from the businesses so we can better serve them.”
Patton said the survey will also ask businesses if they are interested in receiving E-mail and text alerts from JPD. He said the system would be used to alert businesses of scams, counterfeiting and safety issues.
“If we have something happening, it usually doesn’t affect just one business,” he said. “Scams and counterfeiters happen at multiple businesses on most occasions. We’ve also had several crimes where the suspect would go to more than business.”
Herron said he is already working on three or four cases involving area merchants. He said the communication lines that have been built in the program’s early days have already solved crimes.
“We had one business that had a problem a week or so back,” he said. “In talking with another business on an unrelated matter, we found out the same suspect had been at their place. We tied it together and should be able to make an arrest in the case.”
Patton said any area business that would like to find out more information about the RAID initiative should contact Herron at 205-221-2121.