If you get pulled over by a Fort Belvoir Police patrol unit some afternoon, there is a chance you will get to meet the installation’s new police chief. Anthony Jackson was a Military Policeman on Belvoir from 2011 to 2013, and returned late last month as the new chief. Jackson said it’s important to know what his patrolmen are seeing on the streets.
“I was one of the only senior enlisted personnel here that was actually out on the road. Even as a Master Sgt., I was working the road, doing traffic enforcement, trying to make things safe here,” Jackson said. “Even now, as chief of police, I’m a firm believer in leading by example. If I have a patrol officer that’s out there and is able to work the road or do traffic enforcement, you’re going to see me out there. ‘If you can do it, I can do it.’ I make it my business every day from four o’clock to about six or seven o’clock to go out to do traffic enforcement, slow people down, visit the communities and see what the concerns are. I’m out there engaged with the community to see what we can do to make things better here.”
Relationships are vital
Chief Jackson sees a lot of what Belvoir Police does as that of relationship-building, and one of the reasons he wanted to return is the contacts he had nurtured a decade ago. Jackson said with such a large community on post, he wants his contacts with drivers and families to as positive as possible.
“I want to bridge the gap between the civilian population and our officers, whether military or civilian. I don’t want the perception to be that when the police officers come around, it’s for something negative. I want to emphasize that we are here for the community and that we are here to serve and protect, but also provide mentorship, leadership or any customer service that is required. Basically what we do is customer service,” he said, adding that his team is out there bringing a positive impact.
“I emphasize to our divisions that when you go to a home, that you treat it the way you would treat your own. Even though there’s rule and regulations to abide by, I want them to interact with them like they’d be interacting with their own family,” Jackson said. “It’s not ‘the big bad police officers’ coming in, but we’re professional, courteous, and trying to understand the situation and find the best solution to whatever the problem may be.”
“Chief Jackson brings to the department a new energy, skills and training that he can share with fellow police officers, both Department of the Army and MPs,” said Frank Hentschel, Director of Emergency Services. “I can safely say that he looks forward to working on the unique challenges of Fort Belvoir. He is extremely energetic and I’m confident that he’ll do a great job.”
Jackson noted that in his absence Fort Belvoir, quite a lot has change, and on his return, he was amazed at how much it’s grown in that time.
Looking ahead Chief Jackson said it is his goal that Fort Belvoir Police be looked at as the model and DoD standard for police work, and a place where officers want to come work, with state-of-the art equipment.
“My long-term goal is where we have a new state-of-the-art law enforcement center so we can staff more individuals, and process more activities. I just want this organization better than it is now. It was a great organization before, so my stamp on things is to make it even better: new equipment, new personnel, and state-of-the-art training. I want to expand our horizons where we’re training our officers to handle any and every scenario that could possibly arise,” Jackson said.