JC Police look to fill crime prevention position after job vacated

Becky Campbell • Dec 11, 2018 at 11:04 PM

When the Johnson City Police Department obtained a three-year $800,000 grant to create a community-oriented crime prevention initiative, there was no way to know how successful it might be.

But not only was the program implementation a success, it had far-reaching effects on the targeted communities where it was implemented and spilled over those banks and continued the push forward with Becky Haas at the helm as the crime prevention coordinator since its inception in 2013. 

The grant was funded for three years, but the success Haas created by leading the development of community programs has reduced crime, gotten down to the root of issues that cause crime, revitalized neighborhoods and made the city safer overall.

When the grant ran out for the TCCRP — Targeted Community Crime Prevention Program — the police department saw the impact it had, and officials decided the crime prevention position was important enough to create a budgeted position for that job.

It was no surprise when Haas, who successfully planned and implemented the grant program was hired for the job. One of the results of the programs Haas directed, which led to a focus on Trauma Informed Care. That, in turn, was the beginning of Johnson City’s journey to becoming a trauma-informed community with organizations like Ballad Health, East Tennessee State University and others to jump onto the push toward becoming a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive city.

It also paved the way for another job being created for Haas — trauma informed administrator — at Ballad Health’s Niswonger Children’s Hospital. She left the police department and started her new position earlier this month. When that happened, JCPD had to face the decision of keeping the position or not.

It was a no-brainer.

Major Debbie Botelho said the work Haas did had a major impact on crime in Johnson City.

“In 2018, our Part I crime has dropped by 9.2 percent. That’s violent and property crimes,” she said. “Our clearance rages are 58.5 percent while the statewide average is 31.5 percent.”

She said Haas’ efforts to implement crime reduction activities greatly impacted the successes seen in 2018.

“The program with Becky has helped a lot to curtail this type of crime,” Botelho said. “She was a great asset. It has helped us a great deal in lowering crime and keeping us informed on what the public wants to see from us.”

Botelho said the department administration will begin the search in early 2019 to fill the position Haas vacated.

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