Bradford City Police Chief Mike Ward officially took charge of the department on Wednesday, when Mayor James McDonald appointed him chief. Ward’s plans for the department continue to prioritize community relations and training for successful police work, two areas he has viewed as essential throughout his career.
Ward said he was “humble and honored to accept the post of Chief Constable of the City of Bradford Police Department”. He stressed that he had always worked to build community relationships and that he enjoyed being a member of the community as a police officer.
Ward lives in Bradford with his wife, Rebecca, and their three sons, Ryan, Adam and Sean. He noted that he wished to express his gratitude to them for their support and also express his gratitude to his parents, as his family supported him as he pursued his career in law enforcement.
“I take all the tasks given to me seriously, but I have certainly taken victims’ crimes more seriously. As I live and raise my family here in this community, I care very much for the people in this community, with whom I live.
One aspect of community orientation is to create a positive impression of police officers for young people in the area. This is an area recognized by the Bradford City Police.
“Now that the school is open, we have two resource officers in the Bradford area school district. These officers are able to interact with the students, ”Ward said in an interview Friday. “We plan to continue these interactions and take every opportunity to participate in school-related functions, based on COVID restrictions, of course. We hope to work with young people as much as possible.
Ward said future plans, once coronavirus restrictions are eased, include participating in community functions and allowing the community to get to know officers in the department.
Ward noted that when the department is rooted in the community and the officers are known to more community members, it will make the public more comfortable and make it easier for people to go to the police in the event of a problem. need or have information to share.
This year has been very tense for many reasons, one of which is the community-police interaction. This is true both nationally and locally. Acknowledging the current atmosphere, Ward noted that he would like the ministry to engage the public on a more personal level.
“I have every intention of continuing to build positive relationships between the public and the police service, especially during these troubled times across our country,” Ward said. “I see the chief’s position as one that has the capacity to build bridges and strive to ensure that the police department interacts with the community as one team, not divided. Together, I know we can make our community safer and stronger in all aspects. “
While assessing the strengths of the department, Ward referred to the areas of training and equipment. He explained that many officers in the department have specialized training in evidence gathering and interview tactics, among other areas. While there is always a need to evaluate equipment and update obsolete or well-used items, Ward believes the department is at the forefront when it comes to technology and equipment.
There is always room for improvement, said the chef. His future plans for the department also include an emphasis on training, as time and finances permit. Training may be necessary due to changing laws or police tactics. Future training will place particular emphasis on de-escalation, and Ward will encourage the department to prioritize de-escalation tactics over all others whenever possible.
“I will also continuously strive to keep our officers up to date and trained with the latest and most effective tactics for effective policing. We will keep a special focus on the most serious crimes and work diligently to resolve these cases, which will ultimately result in successful arrests and prosecutions, ”Ward said. “My goal is to focus on the mission of providing a safer community and to continue to market our community in a positive light. “
Originally from Bradford and graduated in 1997 from Bradford Central Christian High School, Ward attended the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, where he obtained a Bachelor of Justice Administration in 2001 and received his ACT 120 Police training and certification. Academy at Indiana University in Pennsylvania. He has worked for several local police departments including Foster Township, Smethport, Eldred Borough and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. He still holds a badge with Pitt-Bradford Police. Ward has also been active in the McKean County Drug Task Force since 2000.
“As a young officer, I was fortunate to have mentors who advised me and taught me the skills necessary to be an effective and productive officer,” said Ward.
He became a full-time officer with the City of Bradford Police in 2002 and was appointed Deputy Chief in 2010.
“With 10 years of management experience here in the city, I feel like I have been able to work with all my colleagues in a professional manner,” he said. “Working well with others is something I’m proud of and it’s a virtue that has helped me throughout my career. “
Bradford City Police had to put in extra effort in recent months as officers faced community policing with reduced capacity. Despite the struggle, the department mobilized to overcome.
“I am proud of these officers. Since May we have been operating under staff and they have handled almost double the number of appeals due to the shortage of officers, ”said Ward. “Their stress levels were higher and their tasks increased dramatically, but everyone stepped up and handled it accordingly, without hesitation.”