Public input helping BPD solve cases, build trust

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In the past two years, Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin has seen a rise in help from the public to put a stop to local crime.

“It’s slowly increased each year that I’ve been here and especially in the last two years, we’ve seen it more than ever,” McCubbin told the Standard.

Monday morning, the BPD sent out a press release regarding a drug arrest that was made following a community complaint. McCubbin said the instance was a prime example of how Bardstown is standing up for itself.

“That one piece of information that that citizen sent over was enough to tie in everything,” our investigators were working on, he said. And he commended neighborhoods like Maple Hill who keep an eye out for “suspicious activity.”

“It’s where you live … you know who belongs in your neighborhood,” McCubbin said, adding that the BPD counts on the public to report suspicious activity to officers.

McCubbin said his officers work diligently in solving cases on their own, “But there is no better partner a police officer can have than a member of the community who’s taken a vested interest in what’s going on.”

And part of that communication, he said, comes from trust.

“We’ve noticed an up kick in the community wanting to get more involved and we’ve done a lot of work to build that trust,” he said. “When I first came here as chief, a lot of people talked about how they never worked with police or talked with police unless they knew them personally.”

Perhaps some felt intimidated by officers, he said. But since taking his position, McCubbin has been forward about his goal of transparency in the Department and said his goal has been to build the public trust.

“One of the major things that has really helped is social media,” he said. “We’re telling people ‘here’s what we’re doing’ … By putting out there every time we make a good arrest or clear a case; get the public involved, that’s helped us a lot.”

McCubbin said some might be reluctant to work with police because they “don’t believe so much happens in Bardstown. But unfortunately it does,” he said.

And the willingness to share information can also depend on the type of case.

“Sometimes it is frustrating because we get help on thefts, burglaries and drugs,” but little information on murders and more violent crimes.

“I think someone around here knows something about the Ellis murder and the Netherlands’,” he said. “We want to solve all cases that we can … we can only hope and pray that their conscious gets to them.” 

Still, McCubbin said the Department continues to solve dozens of cases each year with the help of public input, which remains anonymous and confidential, he said.

“I hope we’ll continue to build the trust and confidence with this community,” he said. “We’re here for them and it’s their neighborhoods they need to be concerned with.”