McDavid was the guest of Rotarian Mona Chutsz at the club's Dec. 6 meeting.
One of McDavid's priorities once in office was to renovate areas of the department. "We replaced 25-year-old carpet, painted, expanded the training room and renovated squad rooms and other areas," said the police chief.
Also, one uniform police decal was decided upon and placed on all cruisers. "I wanted the officers to have some ownership over their cars, to feel at home here," McDavid said.
About 20 new laptops were installed in the police cars - making it easier for officers on patrol to run criminal history checks; reserves and dispatchers were all equipped with radios; four new ATVs were purchased to use in tracking suspects and searching for missing persons; a new fingerprint system was acquired; and some of the bullet-proof vests that have reached life expectancy will be replaced with a $3,500 grant. "I want our officers to go home safe at night," said the police chief, who added that most of the items have been possible due to grant money received from various law or governmental agencies.
For example, a $100,000 grant was recently obtained by a Baton Rouge organization that wishes to remain nameless, but that will be dispersed in increments of $20,000 for the next five years. McDavid said the money will be used for police vehicle expenses.
"This has been our biggest year for grants," he said. "It's been great since we've been able to secure a lot without having taxpayers foot the bill. We're trying to be good stewards of these funds."
Recent successes for the department include a 200 pound marijuana seizure and Operation Medicine Cabinet, made possible by an $800 NADDI grant, which netted about 65 pounds of expired or unused prescription medication. Prescription medication is the drug of choice among 12-17-year-olds in America, McDavid said.
The department has also: adopted a new policy that has saved over $47,000 in sick time pay; recently sponsored free self-defense classes; recovered over $500,000 in lost revenue by publishing outstanding warrants in the media; and arrested a suspect who is believed to be responsible for the recent string of burglaries in some Zachary neighborhoods. "Since this person has been behind bars, the burglaries have stopped," McDavid said.
McDavid said the Zachary Police Explorers Cadet Program has also been a huge success. The five cadets currently in the program have all received police training similar to officers. "They help out around the department and work various events such as the state fair, where they were paid $1,500 for three days' work," McDavid said. "It's a tough program to get kids involved in because they get teased by their peers."
Future plans and goals for the ZPD include a new police station. "At the rate we're growing, we'll need it," McDavid said.
Other goals include obtaining new K9s, updating office uniforms and potential FBI training for several leaders within the department. "I went through it (FBI training) and it's made me step up my game," McDavid said. "I'm trying to encourage a few of my guys to look at going to Quantico within the next couple of years."
McDavid said he encourages everyone within the ZPD to be proactive and give back to the community whenever and wherever they can.