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OREM CHIEF HOPES TO PUT `PEOPLE' TOUCH ON POLICING

Andy of Mayberry will feel right at home in the future city of Orem USA.

That's because the new police chief, Jay A. Carey, is dedicated to moving "back" to the kind of community policing typified by the character from the old television series, where the city cop is literally the guy next door.Carey - replacing Ted Peacock, who retired in 1994 - wants to see beats established that keep the same faces in the neighborhoods, policemen on bicycles, on foot and working hand-in-hand with citizens.

He wants to see a community that feels a kinship with the police force.

And he wants to preserve the precious resource of the community he finds in Orem defined in a large part by people who believe in a strong work ethic and family values.

"Community policing represents a very real partnership between the community and the police," said Carey, who's just begun his second month as head of Orem's Department of Public Safety overseeing 125 people - both fire and police departments.

Carey comes from Newport News, Va., where he commanded a department of 450. He also worked in Haiti for the Justice Department, establishing an interim police force to replace military soldiers. He brings experience in working with the community policing concepts and strong convictions about what Orem has to its credit.

"What needs to be done in so many cities is already occurring here. Orem has things that most cities in America dream about," said Carey.

"Now's the time when it's going so well and we can see the strains coming, now is when we need to strengthen it. There's a fundamental recognition across the nation that what we have to do is get back to the basics, strengthen the families, the community."

Community policing can foster that, says Carey.

"The public is involved. They feel and they do have some say so in what happens. We are pro-active rather than just reactive.

"That doesn't mean we become incautious or soft on crime," said Carey, but "rather we provide some tools that can help preserve what this community already has. We don't throw out the book on law enforcement but increase the emphasis on prevention" with an increase on programs such as D.A.R.E., "Officer Friendly," neighborhood watch efforts and citizen training.

Comparatively, Orem has an "outstanding" record of crime prevention, he said, with only one homicide, 12 rapes, 14 robberies and 44 aggravated assaults recorded for the past year.

"What occurs over a whole year in Orem occurs in a major metropolitan area in a month."

And while Orem and the Utah Valley area as a whole is certainly not immune to violent crime, drug trafficking or gang problems, Carey said he does not believe people realize how truly unique it is to have so few problems.

"It's incredible. I'm just glad to be a part of it," he said.

Carey said the public safety officers he's met are dedicated, anxious to serve and make a difference in the community.

Government officials are close to the people and the problems that need solving.

"One of the ways community policing works is to have the police officers become catalysts for community involvement, for getting things done and fixed. Here you have such a community-oriented government that it will be much easier for officers to deal with quality of life issues.

"This will refine and build on what's already going on, what you already have. It's common sense, really."