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New Jasper police chief already making major changes
JASPER-By: Leslie Rangel
The new Jasper Police Chief is already making changes only three months into his job.
Robert McDonald accepted the position despite turmoil in the department linked to pending lawsuits and claims of racism.
We sat down with the chief to learn more about his plans the city and the department.
A new year, new policies and a new culture.
"I think I'm lucky to have Jasper, I don't need to work, I can retire and sit back and play golf, but that's not a challenge," Chief Robert McDonald says about his new position.
A new police chief taking on those challenges.
It's what McDonald was looking for when he set his sights on Jasper.
"They haven't had a chief, a full time chief here that's really cared about not only the department, but cared about them," McDonald says.
McDonald has more than thirty years of law enforcement experience.
He says he's ready to change things around.
"We're going to change our menu and it's going to be service, community service it's to protect and serve while working together and bringing our community together," McDonald said.
One focus is changing what he calls the stereotype of a racist, unfair police department.
"I want to make sure the officers are giving the community the service that they need, trying to change the brand of the police department from we're the police and you're the public and it's separate instead of we're all in this community together and we're going to be working together," McDonald says.
A community he wants to help grow and keep safe.
"You just can't come in and take over and be the boss, you have to be the leader and you have to lead by example and you have to show enthusiasm for your job and I'm very enthusiastic by the opportunity that has been given to me by the council to come in and make a difference," McDonald says.
Changes outside and inside the police department.
The chief says despite the tight budget, the department will be working toward more officer training, more community awareness and more re-branding to help improve the image of the Jasper Police Department.