Madera police are small in number, but big in impact
Founded in 1907, the Madera Police Department has served the city of Madera for 109 years. It is the job of the Madera Police, with its 60 sworn personnel, to protect the more than 65,000 people living in Madera, and to provide them with a safe community.
“Ultimately, our goal is just to provide an environment that people feel comfortable in, and aren’t afraid to walk at night, aren’t afraid to go out into their community, and interact in their community,” said Madera Police Chief Steve Frazier.
The backbone of the Madera Police Department, its patrol unit, bears the brunt of the department’s labor. Ready to respond at any hour of the day, patrol officers, according to Frazier, are the workhorses of the streets.
They are assisted, however, with a K-9 Unit, animal control, detectives, and a multi-agency Special Investigations Unit, which has members from the Chowchilla Police Department and the Madera County Sheriff’s office.
”I have 34 to 36 individuals that are assigned to patrol,” Frazier said. “And you look at that over four shifts, and that kind of gives you an idea of the personnel we have available to make those responses, to be in front of crime, to go to crime prevention, and do all these kinds of things that we want to do. There just isn’t a lot of room for error in that.”
However, with the city’s population, and size of staff, this is not an easy task. For every sworn member of the department, there are more than a thousand Maderans who, at any time, may need assistance.
“In order for us to really have an impact on crime, we have to have enough bodies to accomplish that job,” Frazier said. “And I think our biggest difficulty is having those bodies to do that.”
Frazier, however, who has been with the Madera Police Department for 30 years, and has been chief for four, stresses that the best way to protect the community, given their size, is to be active in it. They have done so through kids’ camps, neighborhood watch groups, the Citizen’s Academy, and National Night Out, among other forms of outreach.
“We started a philosophical approach four years ago. And that approach focused on creating partnerships, it focused on paying attention to the data in order to prevent crime, as opposed to responding to crime, and basically required that we be accountable for that.”
Regardless of the challenges faced, however, the Madera Police Department is always ready, and at a moment’s notice, to protect and serve the community.