This past week the Twin Falls County Commissioners joined with the Twin Falls City Council to proclaim the week of May 10th as Police Week and Wednesday, May 13, 2020, as Peace Officers Memorial Day. It was President John F. Kennedy who established National Police Week in 1962. Typically, there would be public ceremonies to honor our Idaho Police Heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. These men willingly laid down their lives to protect us.
In Twin Falls we have 77 sworn officers and 20 civilians working hard in our department. In 2019 we received 54,427 calls for service. In addition to responding to calls, our officers serve as community service ambassadors. We have officers reaching out to and building relationships with many sectors of our community. Holding events such as Coffee with a Cop, Citizen’s Academy, Cops and Kids, Salvation Army Kettle Challenge and Victim/Witness services are all examples of the ingenuity within our department as they strive to meet citizen’s were they live.
We have partnered with the Twin Falls School District to help provide local schools with resource officers. We also oversee The Every 15 Minutes program with our high schools. We participate in Senior Project Internships, College of Southern Idaho internships and Magic Valley Leadership Programs.
April 8, 1907 is the date we celebrate as the start of our Twin Falls Police Department. On that day C. W. Dyer was appointed as the first Chief of Police for the town of Twin Falls. The average salary of an officer at that time was $75.00 per month. Counting our first chief, we have had 18 men serve as Police Chief in our city. We remember the ultimate sacrifice of two Twin Falls Police Officers; in 1939 Officer Craig Bracken was fatally wounded while attempting to make an arrest near the intersection of Washington Street and 4th Avenue West. Merchant’s policeman, Thomas Russell, was also fatally wounded attempting to capture an armed robber on Main Street South. He succumbed to his injuries in 1934.
In recent weeks we have had to adapt our operations like many others. You may have seen and heard our officer’s reading live on Facebook while our children are learning from home. We have had to temporarily suspend our fingerprinting services for the public. Our officers have had to adapt to working while wearing PPE when necessary. Officer’s will be wearing face masks when it is prudent. Some of our investigative work and report gathering has migrated to phone conversations to limit our contact with multiple persons. Rest assured if an emergency requires an officer to respond, they will, without hesitation. One thing that hasn’t changed is our traffic patrols. Yes, we are still issuing citations.
Remember when you encounter an officer, you don’t know what scene they have just left. Appreciate that we are all people serving people and are working to make Twin Falls the best place to live. Take time and say, “thank you”. Together we are Twin Falls Strong – Shining brightly.
Suzanne Hawkins is the mayor of Twin Falls.
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