Centralia Police Chief Greg Dodson addresses the Centralia Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Bruce Kropp.
Centralia’s new Police Chief Greg Dodson says his job requires an olive branch in one hand and a sword in the other.
He told the Centralia Chamber of Commerce at their monthly meeting Wednesday afternoon the olive branch is to build relationships within the community and the sword is to attack the problems.
Dodson says he elected to start the outreach process with presentations to each of the churches because he feels they are the backbone of the community. He also plans more Coffee with a Cop programs as well as Hot Chocolate with a Cop for kids to meet the cops and ask questions. He says technology improvements have separated the people from the police.
“I don’t want it to be a nameless, faceless person in uniform who shows up in a time of crisis. I want them to be a person they recognize and trust and are there as a person to help them. That’s so important and key to have those relationships because everything comes from trust.”
Dodson says on the crime-fighting side “perception is reality” and the department is going to send a strong message drug trafficking will not be tolerated. He received applause when saying the department had completed its third major bust on a residence earlier in the day on Wednesday. Dodson says they are also working to stop drug sales on the streets.
“If people are driving around and they see in plain view out in the public, these types of blatant crimes happening it lowers their sense of security. It makes them feel uncomfortable and unsafe. I want to instill in these criminals that if I’m selling drugs in a public spot, that three cops might come out and throw me on the ground and put me in handcuffs. I want to drive this activity underground. I don’t want them being blatant about it. I don’t want them feeling comfortable. I’d eventually like to force it out of town”
Dodson says they are also working cooperatively with other agencies. He feels the drug problem is at the heart of all of the city’s problems.
Dodson says as a lifelong resident who is raising his family here he is thrilled to have the police chief’s position. However, he doesn’t want to be the Centralia Chief of Police. He wants everyone to consider him as their chief. Dodson plans an open door policy where anyone can come in to discuss problems and concerns.