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Police launch business ID program

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By Laura Hagan

In a city that continues to attract new businesses, members of the La Grange Police Department are implementing a new program to stay in touch with business owners.

The program matches a business ID number to a list of key-holders’ contact information for use by emergency personnel if an incident occurs.

La Grange Police Chief Kevin Collett said without after-hours contact information, in the past when a burglary or other incident occurred, officers didn’t know who to contact. Instead, night shift officers spent extra time revisiting a building with an open door or broken window throughout the night.

He said the program will help the department run more efficiently and keep in touch with business owners after hours.

The register will be used by emergency personnel when responding to an incident at a business, such as a fire, burglary, broken window or an alarm, Officer Scott Wolf said.

Each business received orange stickers with an ID number for a window or door at the entrance to the businesses, visible to responding personnel.

Wolf said officers often make runs after hours to businesses, responding to some type of crime at the building. The officers then contact someone from the business about the problem.

“This system will help time-wise with resolving issues,” Wolf said.

He said if officers find a building that isn’t secure, they‘ll do their best to secure it before they leave. He said it’s especially helpful if they can contact a key-holder.

Though they conduct business checks after hours, Wolf said there is no set time or routine to when they check.

He said there aren’t any specific types of businesses or areas that present more of a problem than any other.

A lot of runs, Wolf said, are burglar alarms. Often they’re false, a result of an alarm malfunctions.

“We treat them all as if a burglary is in progress,” he said.

All businesses will receive an ID number by mid-November. Wolf said the new system will save time, allowing officers to go straight to the list to match ID numbers with telephone numbers for business owners.

“From the experience of not having a register kept up-to-date,” he said, “it’s a big advantage to have it.”

The number listed on the ID sticker will cross-reference with Oldham County Dispatch so dispatchers can provide contact information quickly.

“I guess a lot of it is the police department being proactive to avoid unnecessary delays in the future,” Wolf said.

So far business owners and managers have responded well to the new system. Wolf said he likes meeting business owners and letting them know the department is patrolling and checking on their businesses after hours.

“A lot of them appreciate that,” he said.

Cary Shaffer is the assistant manager at Cash Express. She said she thinks the ID system may even deter problems at businesses.

“They’ll know that the police are watching this place,” she said.

Relationships with the business owners is something Collett said he hopes will be a benefit of the new program.

He hopes it will help the officers build relationships with people out in the community, and allow business owners to know an officer who is coming in on a regular basis to keep up with their information.

It’s also a benefit for the owners to know the officers, he said.

Collett said officers will go back to each business every six months to make sure their information is still up-to-date.

While he said for now he’ll send the same officers to the same businesses they went when they passed out the stickers, he may rotate officers in the future to allow them to meet different people.

“I want officers to build relationships between the people on that list,” he said.

More than 200 businesses will have ID numbers by mid-November. Next, LPD will register churches and public buildings.

E-mail us about this story at: lhagan@oldhamera.com.