As community outreach facilitator for the Redmond Police Department (RPD), Jim Bove can be considered the face of the department.
From providing comments for the media to organizing community events such as last month’s National Night Out Against Crime, the Virginia native is usually the person to contact for all things police and fire related. Bove works with more than 170 neighborhood, school, faith and community groups and organizations around town, teaching people about public safety and crime prevention.
“Education is power,” he said.
A COMMUNITY EFFORT
Bove said a lot of his job is encouraging community involvement in policing: providing the community with as much information to stay safe and also making people comfortable enough to call the police when necessary. This is a big part of creating a safer Redmond.
He said his job is also to teach people what to do if they witness a crime.
Last Friday, Bove spoke at the Redmond Senior Center’s First Friday Coffee Chat — a forum that gives the public an opportunity to learn more about city entities and departments — and told the audience how a neighborhood watch group recently assisted the RPD in arresting a car prowler. He said they did exactly what they were supposed to do by calling the police and not getting involved.
Bove added that having these community partnerships is essential for the police department because there are only an average of about eight officers on the road at a time.
“If we don’t have people out there, knowing what to look for, it’s all us,” he said.
Bove said one of the nice things about working for RPD is that the city does not have a high crime rate. This gives him and officers the opportunity to speak at schools and other community groups more because they’re not practicing reactive policing, going from call to call.
“We can definitely afford to be more proactive,” Bove said. “We live in a very safe community.”
He said educating people ahead of time helps reduce the number of calls the police department receives about crimes that can be prevented such as car prowls. On average, Bove said they receive about 500 calls per week.
In addition to community groups, Bove stays in contact with schools, businesses, other public safety agencies outside of Redmond and their respective public information officers.
Bove said having their contact information makes things easier if he needs to send out information or in the case of an emergency because he’ll know exactly who to contact.
“It’s nice to have that contact before something happens,” he said.
Bove also works as a liaison between the police and fire departments and the media. He said because an incident that catches the media’s attention can happen at any time, he is on call 24 hours a day, every other week. However, he said the departments are good with paging him only when needed.
“They’re very respectful about not calling me in the middle of the night,” he said.
OUTSIDE OF POLICE WORK
Although Bove, whose father is a retired police officer, will have been with Redmond Police for four years come November, his background in public safety has been limited. With a bachelor’s degree in speech and media studies from Radford University in Virginia and a master’s in college administration from Michigan State University, he is the first non-commissioned person to hold his current position with RPD. This means he does not have a badge and does not carry a gun.
However, Bove said his background was a perfect match for the job and likes that he is able to focus on the education aspect of his job.
“It’s just been a good fit,” he said.
Before coming to Redmond, he spent 11 years working as a college administrator — a profession he fell into by accident. Bove said most of his work involved judicial affairs and student conduct, which included the local courts and some contact with the police.
From his work in a college environment, Bove met students with different backgrounds as well as students who have studied abroad. He said many could tell him about different parts of the world, but not many knew much about the United States.
This prompted Bove, an avid traveler, to visit all 50 states during his off time from work.
“I wanted to know my own country before I traveled abroad,” he said.
And aside from Canada and the Caribbean, Bove has done exactly that — limiting his travel to within the country. He has five states left to visit: Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. Bove said if things work out, he would like his final state visit to be Louisiana in 2013 for the 47th Super Bowl in New Orleans. He added that in order for a state to count, it has to be a proper visit where he can do some sightseeing and visit a few touristy locations.
“If I have a layover in a state, it doesn’t count,” he said.
Bove is also a huge sports fan and is doing a similar tour of the country’s baseball stadiums. He said he has eight or nine stadiums left to visit.