I’ve written before about the great work being done by very smart and talented people on behalf of the city of Tehachapi. It's work that has an everyday positive impact for the community, our citizens and those who simply visit Tehachapi to experience for themselves the wonderful place we’ve created.
That work continues to be recognized regionally and from time to time we’ll be awarded for those efforts. This year I’m happy to announce that the Kern Council of Governments has selected the city of Tehachapi for a pair of Regional Awards of Merit.
The first is a Regional Award of Merit for Journalism for the city’s social media and specifically our community videos series. Community engagement specialist Key Budge put an emphasis this past year on producing two videos per week that update the community on various public and private projects, news items and things to do.
These videos, which feature different city staff depending on the content, are then posted on our Facebook and Instagram pages. This approach, while not groundbreaking in the private sector, is something that many municipalities shy away from. Here at the city of Tehachapi we embraced the online consumption of video content and successfully used that platform to inform residents.
On Facebook, where the city has more followers than any other city in Kern County (yes even more than Bakersfield), our videos were viewed more than 115,000 times, a 62 percent increase from our video efforts in 2017. Additionally, our content was responsible for 32,000 minutes of viewing time this past year, up from just 11,000 minutes the year before. That’s an increase of more than 30 minutes per day of additional viewing time and several more opportunities to keep you informed of our latest developments at City Hall and beyond.
The second award is the prestigious Richard A. Maxwell Regional Award of Merit for Public Safety being awarded to Tehachapi Police Chief Kent Kroeger. This well-deserved award recognizes the Tehachapi Police Department for its out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to police investigations. As a small department without the luxury of detectives, the Tehachapi Police Department empowers each officer with the training and authority to conduct their own investigations. With department oversight from a sergeant, every officer has a hand in solving a variety of criminal cases that are leading to convictions of offenders.
This approach, put in place by Chief Kroeger and executed brilliantly by his command staff and officers, is creating a balanced approach to police work, a safer community and developing police officers in a manner that allows them to take ownership and pride in seeing a case to completion.
One of the most notable cases was the 2018 conviction of Jeffrey Dean Enslow, a case that had ties to Tehachapi and several other cities in the state. Through the work of the TPD officers and their counterparts in the Department of Homeland Security, Enslow was convicted in November of 18 counts including felony domestic violence, attempt to ignite an explosive with intent to terrorize and possession of materials to make an explosive device.
Our department even executed a search warrant in Shasta County in this case, which led to the discovery of more explosive devices and prompted the evacuation of a neighborhood as a precaution. It’s a proud day when our officer’s work is keeping people safe in not only our community, but others around the state when necessary. Kudos to Chief Kroeger and his entire department for this award that recognizes leadership and innovation in the area of public safety.
Awards like these are reassurance that we continue to move in the right direction in all areas of our operation and I hope you join me in anticipating more commendable accomplishments in the coming year. As always if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Garrett is Tehachapi's city manager.