Public Safety Operations and Training Center: Photos

PSOTC entry1b-1000Members of the local media got a chance to see the new Public Safety Operations and Training Center on Friday. (Click on photos to see larger versions.)

The Georgetown Police Department and Georgetown Fire Department Administration move to the new Public Safety Operations and Training Center on Monday, February 2. The center is located at 3500 DB Wood Road next to Fire Station 5.

The new facility is the home for the Georgetown Police Department and Georgetown Fire Department Administration. Police Department offices, including Code Enforcement, as well as Fire Department Administrative offices, including Fire and Life Safety and Fire Plans Review, will move to the new facility.

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Capt. Roland Waits describes the City’s new primary Emergency Operations Center located in the center. City management and key departments like Fire, Police, and Transportation will monitor emergencies and coordinate an integrated response from the EOC. The new center is engineered to withstand a strike from an F-3 tornado with 165 mile-per-hour winds.

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This briefing room is where officers in the field operations bureau of the police department can gather to learn information prior to a new 12-hour shift.

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A crime lab in the center contains vented hoods that allow crime scene technicians to use chemicals safely while processing evidence.

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Small signs with the Georgetown Police Department insignia and the phrase “Be the Standard” can be found throughout police offices in the new center.

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Capt. Waits says the weight and fitness room is one of the most highly-anticipated features of the new facility among the officers. The former Police Department at 809 MLK, Jr. Street had no fitness or weight training room.

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A defensive tactics room with padded mats on the walls and floors will allow officers to learn and practice defensive techniques that are used when dealing with aggressive individuals.

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Biometric access devices control entry to highly-sensitive areas such as rooms with evidence or weapons.

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Lockers in the new facility have locked compartments for weapons and other compartments for vests and boots. The new men’s and women’s locker rooms are among the biggest improvements for officers at the new facility. The small lockers in the cramped space at 809 MLK, Jr. Street cannot fit an officer’s modern equipment.

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This training bay inside the tactical and training building is one of the innovations of the new center. Movable partitions can be set up in the bay in order to conduct “reality-based training” in which officers are confronted with scenarios in which they must react. Officers can learn concepts and ideas in classrooms at the training building, and then go to the training bay where skills and tactics are put into practice using non-lethal ammunition similar to paintball rounds. Catwalks above the maze of partitions will allow training officers to evaluate and videorecord training events. These videos can be reviewed as a learning tool in the training process.

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Police Chief Wayne Nero shows a door in the training bay on which officers can practice breaching techniques. Officers are trained to use various breaching tools on the doors. Nero says that kicking in a door, as seen in TV shows, often results in injuries in real-life policing.

Georgetown voters approved funding for the facility in a bond election in 2011.

A public open house for the Public Safety Operations and Training Center will be held in March. Details will be announced in February.

Public Safety Operations and Training Center Move-in Feb. 2

PSOTC entry1b-1000The Georgetown Police Department and Georgetown Fire Department Administration move to the new Public Safety Operations and Training Center on February 2. The center is located at 3500 DB Wood Road next to Fire Station 5.

The new facility is the home for the Georgetown Police Department and Georgetown Fire Department Administration. Police Department offices, including Code Enforcement, as well as Fire Department Administrative offices, including Fire and Life Safety and Fire Plans Review, will move to the new facility.

In addition to office and indoor training areas in the 76,204 square-foot main building, the center also includes a driving track and a training building with 3,897 square feet of office and outdoor classroom space and a 12,800 square-foot unfinished training bay with movable partitions and observation catwalks.

Georgetown voters approved funding for the facility in a bond election in 2011.

A public open house for the Public Safety Operations and Training Center will be held in March. Details will be announced in February.

Coffee with the Captains on Jan. 21

A casual, open-to-the-public chance to visit with police officers will be held at a local convenience store on a Wednesday morning later this month.

Called Coffee with the Captains, the informal event organized by Captain Evelyn McLean of the Georgetown Police Department will be at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21. Captain McLean will be joined by fellow Captain Roland Waits at the 7-Eleven store at 2995 Williams Drive (see map below) for the informal event. The two will mingle with customers of the store with no planned agenda.

The intent of the get-together is to listen to residents and establish closer ties with the community. The owner of the 7-Eleven store, Meddy Tekle, recently shared with Captain McLean about a conversation with a customer who felt negatively toward local police.

“Hearing Ms. Tekle’s story, it became apparent to me that the recent adverse media stories about police throughout the country had trickled down to a local level,” says Captain McLean. “We are not a reactive police department. For example, all of our officers have had body cameras well over a year, ahead of any incident. We are not hosting Coffee with the Captains in reaction to any local event, rather community relations is part of our everyday mantra. Case in point, we have one of the largest volunteer programs in the State and our police work closely with these volunteers providing for the public.”

Georgetown Police invites residents to get involved with the Department through various means such as attending the Georgetown Citizen Police Academy, becoming a Volunteer in Police Services, joining the Police Explorer program (ages 14-20), or participating in a ride-out with an officer.

For more information on Georgetown Police Department community programs, contact Captain Evelyn McLean at (512) 930-8408.

Location map for 7-Eleven on Williams Drive:

Fire and Police Depts Recognize Citizen Responders

Two citizen responders were recently recognized for their actions that may have helped saved a life after a vehicle collision earlier this year. Billy Ayers, Jr. and his father Billy Ayers were honored at the Georgetown City Council meeting last Tuesday. The Ayers’ actions in responding to an incident during an ice storm were commended by the Georgetown Fire Department and the Georgetown Police Department.

On the evening of January 23, Walburg-area resident Tim Kubatzky was driving on the 130 Toll Road when he hit a patch of ice on the County Road 104 Bridge. His car fishtailed, then skidded off the road and fell 20 feet, landing upside down below the bridge.

Billy Ayers, Jr. was driving on CR 104 a short time later and happened to see the car near the side of the road. Ayers went to check on the car and found Kubatzky, who was injured and trapped inside. The roof of the car was smashed in due to the impact of the wreck, which prevented the doors from opening.

Ayers immediately called 911. He also called his father Billy Ayers to come and assist with tools in order to try to free Kubatzky. The Ayers tried, but were not successful in freeing Kubatzky from the car.

Unfortunately because of the ice storm, emergency responders were overwhelmed with calls and were responding to more than 50 car wrecks at that time. Billy Ayers, Jr. and his father Billy Ayers stayed with Kubatzky in sub-freezing temperatures and contacted 911 multiple times until the Georgetown Fire Department and Police Department arrived. Firefighters were able to free Kubatzky and he was transported to the hospital.

Though Kubatzky sustained multiple serious injuries, he has fully recovered from the accident and joined his wife last week at the council meeting to thank the Ayers, as well as first responders who came to the scene.

In a message to the Fire Department, Tim Kubatzky’s wife Katherine said, “I’m confident that if it wasn’t for Billy and his father’s quick actions and their persistence in getting emergency personnel to Tim, we would have had a very different outcome.”

Fire Chief John Sullivan provided some context at the meeting in thanking the Ayers for their actions. “We think that government is here to protect us,” said Sullivan. “We’re here, but sometimes we get tapped, and that was an evening we got tapped as a system. We had over 50 motor vehicle collisions happening at a short time, all the resources were committed, and we needed community involvement. We deeply appreciate the Ayers’ selfless service.”

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Pictured in the photo (left to right) are Fire Chief John Sullivan, Katherine Kubatzky, Billy Ayers, Jr., Billy Ayers, Tim Kubatzky, and Police Chief Wayne Nero.

Electronic Cigarettes Added to Smoking Prohibitions

Electronic cigarettes have been added to City of Georgetown rules that prohibit smoking in indoor public places and businesses. The ordinance also prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes to persons under 18 or their sale in vending machines. The City Council approved the second and final reading of the revised smoking ordinance at their regular meeting on Tuesday. The ordinance takes effect April 23.

In the City Council deliberations about the ordinance, concerns were raised about the health effects of e-cigarettes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not fully studied e-cigarettes, so potential health risks are undetermined. According to an FDA consumer statement in 2009, testing of cartridges from two leading brands of e-cigarettes detected diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. “Several other samples were found to contain carcinogens,” according to the statement.

The new Georgetown ordinance adds electronic cigarettes, electronic vaping devices, liquid nicotine, and other electronic nicotine delivery devices to the existing smoking ordinance. The use of electronic cigarettes and other electronic vaping devices is now prohibited in restaurants, bars, retail stores, taxis, buses, government buildings, art galleries, health care facilities, hotels, school buildings and property, and theaters in Georgetown. Other places are specified in the ordinance.

The ordinance also prohibits persons under the age of 18 from possessing or purchasing e-cigarettes. While state law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors, state law does not yet address e-cigarettes. The ordinance also prohibits vending machine sales of e-cigarettes since those are not yet covered by state law. The ordinance also prevents e-cigarettes from being directly accessible to minors on a retail countertop.

Exemptions to the smoking ordinance include private membership clubs, private residences, and private vehicles.

Georgetown 3rd on Best American Suburbs Ranking

A recent analysis of 75 cities in the top 25 U.S. metro areas ranked Georgetown third on the list. The top ten list of America’s Best Suburbs, placing Georgetown at no. 3 in the country, was done by Movoto, a real estate company in California. The ranking was based on several factors including shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings as well as cost of living, low crime, education, and employment.

The article notes that Georgetown’s crime rate is 45 percent below the national average and that the cost of living is nearly 9 percent lower than the national average. The article also cites Georgetown’s low student-to-teacher ratio.

Movoto provided an explanation of the appeal of the major metro cities on the list. “These smaller cities and towns offer proximity to everything their larger neighbors have to offer, while oftentimes being safer and less crowded.”

“This ranking is a wonderful tribute to our history, our vitality, our values and our fantastic citizens,” says Mayor George Garver. “Good schools, good public safety personnel, and a great living environment make this city very desirable. We take pride in this ranking knowing that others have discovered what we already know about Georgetown—it’s a great place to live.”

The ranking was based on an analysis of data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To see the list of the 10 best American suburbs, as well as the full ranking of metro 75 cities, go to http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/best-suburban-cities-in-america.

Memorial Stair Climb on 9/11 in Georgetown

Georgetown firefighters and police officers will participate in a memorial stair climb at Georgetown ISD football stadium on Wednesday, September 11. The climb is done each year as a tribute to first responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Participants will climb the equivalent of 110 stories—the height of the World Trade Center towers.

The event begins at 8 a.m. with comments from Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan and Georgetown Assistant Police Chief Cory Tchida. An honor guard will post the colors before the climb begins. The flag posted will be the flag of heroes, which contains the names of all the first responders who died on 9/11. Battalion Chief Jeff Davis, a piper with Georgetown Fire Department Pipes and Drums, will play as the climb begins.

FDNY Rescue 4, a fire truck that responded with a crew of firefighters to the World Trade Center on 9/11, will be at the beginning of the Georgetown memorial stair climb event. FDNY Rescue 4 is currently based in Taylor.

The firefighters on the climb will be wearing firefighting gear including boots, helmets, protective pants and jackets, and air packs. Police officers will carry extra tactical gear on the climb. Participants will pause for a moment of silence at the times that each of the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

Georgetown Battalion Chief Carl Boatright, who is coordinating the event, says he expects 30 to 40 climbers to participate, including firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians. Participants will climb the stairs to the top of the football stadium 16 times.

Later in the day on Wednesday, Georgetown firefighters will participate in the annual September 11 commemoration and parade in Taylor.

The Georgetown ISD Athletic Complex, where the stair climb will take place in the morning, is located behind Georgetown High School at 2211 N. Austin Avenue in Georgetown.

Police Officers Sworn In

oath Jones and Jones-b-450Two Georgetown employees were sworn in as peace officers by Georgetown Police Chief Wayne Nero on Monday.

Robert Jones took the oath from Chief Nero to become a Georgetown police officer in a ceremony at the police department. Jones previously worked for nine years for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. Officer Jones will be working in the patrol division.

Nero and Robert Jones-b-350Police Chief Wayne Nero is pictured with Officer Robert Jones at left.

Hank Jones, who is a captain in the Georgetown Fire Department, also took the oath to become a certified police officer. Capt. Jones leads the fire prevention and fire investigation programs for the Fire Department. As a peace officer, Capt. Jones will be able to take law enforcement actions, such as writing a citation as part of an arson investigation.

To complete the nine-month basic peace officers course in Austin, Capt. Jones took classes on evenings and weekends while concurrently working his day job at the Fire Department.

Hank Jones-b-175Capt. Jones started with the Georgetown Fire Department in 1998.

Capt. Hank Jones is pictured at right.

Chase the Chief 5K photos

Hundreds participated in the inaugural Chase the Chief 5k and Fun Run in San Gabriel Park on Sunday. The family fitness event was sponsored by the Georgetown Police Department and the Georgetown ISD Council PTA. (Click on photos for larger version.) The photos were taken by Amanda Chron with the Georgetown Police Department.

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Assistant Police Chief Cory Tchida takes an “early lead” in the fun run.

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Georgetown Police Chief Wayne Nero with kids at the starting line of the 5k run.

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Nearly 500 participated in the event at San Gabriel Park.

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Chief Nero congratulated runners at the finish line.

The event included a kid-friendly version of the Police Academy Obstacle Course, a kids’ activities area, and community health fair. The event encouraged a fit and healthy lifestyle and was a fundraiser for the Georgetown ISD PTA.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Survey

The City of Georgetown is currently in the process of completing a Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Input from the community is needed for the project team to identify and analyze potential hazards affecting residents and recommend possible actions to reduce their impact. Hazards can include droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other major disasters.

A public participation survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/CityofGeorgetown.

The goal of the Hazard Mitigation Plan is to minimize or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from known hazards by identifying and implementing cost-effective mitigation actions. Mitigation is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as sustained actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects.

Questions about the Hazard Mitigation Plan should be addressed to H2O Partners, planning consultants for the project. Contact Cathy Meek with H2O Partners at (888) 328-4151, ext. 2, or by email at cathy@h2opartnersusa.com.