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Volunteering in your community can make a difference

TED FIELDS • Feb 8, 2020 at 6:30 PM

Do you have ideas to share that will better our community? Do you want the opportunity to step up and take action to help with community issues?

Kingsport is always looking for volunteers to share their opinions and help make our city a great place to live, work and raise a family. Did you know every member of the Neighborhood Commission is a volunteer? You can be a part of many different committees and commissions that guide Kingsport forward, from the Historic Zoning Commission to the Public Art Committee. The only requirement is that you live within the Kingsport city limits.

If you’re interested in serving, please visit kingsporttn.gov and complete the ServeKingsport Volunteer Form. You’ll have the chance to list your skills and interests, and when a spot opens on one of the commissions, the city might reach out to you to join!

If you want to better the community from the comfort of your own home, consider helping out our wonderful Kingsport Police Department by filling out their Citizen Survey.

Throughout the month of February, the KPD is conducting a citizen survey as part of its accreditation process. KPD is internationally accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

What does accreditation mean for a police department? KPD was first accredited through CALEA in 1992 and has maintained accreditation for more than 25 consecutive years. The benefits of CALEA accreditation include greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, stronger defense against civil litigation, staunch support from government officials, and increased community advocacy.

There are a lot of hoops that the KPD has to jump through to keep its accreditation. CALEA requires that an accredited agency must be in compliance with nearly 500 individual professional standards. One of those standards requires that the KPD conduct a documented survey of citizen attitudes and opinions at least once every two years — and that’s where you come in!

Here’s what you can expect from the survey. It’s designed to be used as a platform for organizational learning, asking specific questions about the quality of policing in the community. The survey questions gauge citizen feedback with respect to:

1) Overall agency performance

2) Overall competence of agency employees

3) Citizens’ perception of officers’ attitudes and behavior

4) Community concern over safety and security within the agency’s service area

5) Citizens’ recommendations and suggestions for improvements

So, let the KPD know what you think! They’re ready to hear from you. To take the 2020 Citizen Survey, visit kingsporttn.gov and click the link in the scrolling top page ticker.

Join Us for a Meeting

Another easy way to get involved is to come to a Neighborhood Commission meeting. Our next one will be Thursday, Feb. 27 in the City Hall Council Room at 225 W. Center St.

Please join us and share your successes and concerns as a valued citizen. We welcome you! In the meantime, if you have something to share, please email us at KingsportNeighborhoods@gmail.com.

Ted Fields is chair of the Kingsport Neighborhood Commission.