Since being elected to the city marshal position two months ago, John Erisman has been steadily adjusting to a new set of responsibilities while re-organizing and re-structuring the police department.

Erisman says he takes the new position very seriously and has made some changes to insure his team is not only are as safe as they can be, but are offering the community they serve the best protection they can.

“Increasing the budget for training is very important to me. More training for the officers allows them to be better prepared for the situations they face and that in turn lets the officers provide more coverage and protection for the community. It is a beneficial situation for everyone,” Erisman said.

The additional training budget is part of a plan that will require any new additions to the department to undergo a more comprehensive training period based on the years of experience the officer has. An officer that is considered to be a veteran will undergo eight weeks of in house training and an officer that has less than three years of prior experience will undergo a more lengthy 17 week training session also provided in house.

“I want to provide my officers the best training we can offer because it helps the transition into a new department or new role go more smoothly,” he said.

As well as increased training for any new hires, the department is also in the process of sending veteran officers with the department back to school for additional training.

“Eventually what I would like to see for the department is a situation where we don’t have to send officers away for additional or specialized training because we have officers trained that can offer advanced training in various fields. In the long run, not only will it allow the department to be better prepared to handle different situations, but it will also save money in the budget that can be put to use elsewhere,” Erisman said.

Another new feature for the department is an updated computer system that will allow officers to file all their reports and paperwork from their squad cars. The added feature will increase the visibility of the officers in the community acting as a crime deterrent and decrease the response time got units to reach a situation when called.

“I believe that because the officers will already be in their cars and out in the community instead of filing reports, that the time it takes them to respond to a call will be that much faster because of their location,” he said.

The computer system has been installed in the police department and will be installed in all squad cars after a few kinks have been worked out and the providers of the service are fully prepared to have the service operational. The service is expected in the next few weeks.

Having the department more involved in the community and allowing the community more access to the officers is something Erisman feels will only help decrease crime in the community.

“We do everything we can to keep the community safe but having a better relationship between the community and the department would help us tremendously. Having the citizens feel comfortable to approach the officers with concerns and information can keep us better informed and more aware of situations that we can help with. The best way to handle crime is to prevent it before it occurs,” Erisman said.

Erisman has a special interest in the police department, not only as the new city marshal but because of the city it protects.

“I was born and raised in Ennis, all my family and friends are here and I take a lot of pride in calling Ennis home. I want to see the police department continue to move forward and to help the community and city run smoother because I see great things for the future,” he said.

Moving forward, Erisman plans to lead his department by example. He hopes he is helping to provide an environment where his officers are excited about coming to work and a place where they can see how integral they are to bringing about change and helping their community prosper.

“I try to lead by example and I hope they respect me for it. I want to do what’s right and set an example not only for their careers but for their involvement in the community. I try to set an example or standard of what is acceptable,” he said.

New programs and additional training are steps toward the future that Erisman feels will benefit the community. He wants change that is measured and responsible but will benefit the community he serves.

“Things will move forward and hopefully benefit us all but it won’t happen without support from the community and time to make sure it will work. I will not sacrifice quality for expedience,” he said.

Erisman cites support from his fellow officers, the city administration and the community for the reason his transition over the last several months has been smooth and successful.

E-mail Candie at candie.adams@ennisjournal.com