"Sign up for Code Red," said Wichita Falls Police Department Chief Manuel Borrego as he concluded his speech to the University Kiwanis Club today at Luby's. Borrego, who has been a police officer for 31 years for WFPD, emphasized the importance of Code Red to a rapt audience during his 20 -minute speech today.
"If you sign up for Code Red you will receive either a text message or an e-mail whenever there is an emergency situation anywhere in Wichita Falls," Borrego explained to the weekly luncheon of Kiwanians.
"As an example, we had to evacuate several houses as a result of the gas leak by Jacksboro Highway last week. If you lived in that section of town you would have received either a text or an e-mail informing you of the danger if you were signed up for Code Red. You can go to our website and get information there as to how to sign up. You might not live in the part of town where the emergency is occuring, but your children or grandchildren may be. You could warn them," the chief further said.
Borrego also recommended Leadsonline as a good program for citizens of Wichita Falls to sign up for, saying, "It's private for citizens. You can download a picture of your stolen property and the identification serial number of the property to Leadsonline. Only the police will have the access to the information. Police officers can compare your picture and information to stolen property at pawn shops and recover your belongings."
Chief Borrego opened it up to questions from the audience after he finished his speech.
Dentist John Thornton asked if WFPD was fully staffed and if requirements have been decreased for police officers.
Borrego said WFPD is currently 14 officers short, but with 11 officer candidates currently going through the Police Academy that number will decrease this year. He said the department has been hit with several retirements recently which has caused positions to come open.
Borrego also said standards for hiring police officers have not been decreased.
"We have the toughest physical fitness standards of anyone in Texas," he said, smiling.
Stephani Gorham asked if it was possible to have different standards for men and women applying for jobs at WFPD.
"No, the Voting Rights Act won't allow us to do that. About 10-15% of our applicants are women," Borrego answered.
Borrego also mentioned that he was proud the WFPD was recently recognized as a top law enforcement agency by the Texas Best Practices Program. He said there were 165 standards which had to be met. He further said WFPD is one of only 69 agencies in the entire state of Texas to qualify for the recognition by the Texas Police Chiefs Association.
Borrego also encouraged people to support Crimestoppers which can pay up to $1000 for tips leading to the indictment of someone for a felony offense.
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