Thank you South District! This coming weekend, I will be moving to a new role as the Central District Captain. Captain Harrison Zanders of the Central District will be your new South District Captain. Since I arrived in 2019, I have met so many wonderful, caring, unpretentious people in the South District. We have been through a lot from tragedies to laughter, through protests and a pandemic. Through it all, I always admired the people of the South District. First and foremost the employees who work in the South are incredibly professional, caring, highly educated people. They have been there for you in times of great joy and been there for you when police were needed the most to help and keep people safe. You should be proud of those who wear the MPD uniform. Secondly are the citizens who make up the South District. In numerous community meetings I have heard from you the frustration you share with the notion that the South District is portrayed elsewhere as "dangerous" and "full of crime". Decades ago, the South District had challenges with poverty, crime, and more. However the police department, neighborhood officers, non-profits, churches and the City have done an excellent job in reducing crime, reducing the fear of crime and building relations with the community. In fact the South District is vibrant today, has so many successes and upon them the lowest crime rate in the City!! Be proud of the South District. When I was first assigned to the South District, people said, "be careful" and "it is dangerous there" as if we were 1989. We are far from those days. So now I'm asked why has it changed. The biggest factor that I cannot prove statistically is the bedrock here in the South District. The relations MPD has formed with the community, combined with a determined community that does not want to return to the 1980/90s crime data; has led to information sharing, trust and more. We know that it needs to and will continue to grow as the MPD is always focused on community partnerships and continuous improvement.
In addition to Captain Zanders, who comes to the South District with a lot of enriched experience and keen eye for community partnerships; you also have two Lieutenants (Justine Harris and Tim Radke) that have close to 40 years of combined experience. The South District is in great shape and it is because of the MPD staff and the citizens we serve. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in the South District as your Captain.