Vernon Police Chief Tom Wilson has a reason to smile.
Since he took over at the V.P.D in late 2007, the city's crime rate has dropped from 62.5% in 2007 to 34.3% in 2012. Wilson praised the efforts of his officers and staff.
"It was a big morale booster, and it emphasized that our hard work and other factors had contributed to it," Chief Wilson said.
"I had a pretty good hand that the rate had dropped some," he continued, "but to be recognized statewide was kind of neat, I thought,"
The crash in the crime rate is also being linked to other V.P.D. improvements, like specialized officer and detective training, the department getting better forensic equipment, going from just three to thirty computers, and quadrupling the size of the police department building.
Another factor in Vernon becoming a safer city: Vernon's residents
"The public has helped us immensely. They report suspicious activity in problem areas beforehand, prior to something happening," Wilson said.
The V.P.D's next project is increasing their presence on Facebook.
"There's a lot of valuable information that we could put out to the public through social media and vice versa. They can report crimes, and in times of disaster, it's very useful." the Chief said.
We were out at Coy's this afternoon to get a sense of what residents thought of the Vernon Police Department's efforts to take down crime. Most people we talked to said the officers were doing a great job, and that they felt safe in the city.
One person, who works for a local bail bonds service, says that's not the case.
She remarked about the "big increase in drug crime" over the past few years.
Chief Wilson responded.
"The numbers won't reflect that at all. From my perspective, there's been no significant increase, he said"
The Chief expanded by saying despite the city's recent financial troubles, there has been no significant increase in the crime rate as a whole. There will be months where the rate will go up, followed by a couple of quieter months.
The city was awarded one of Safe Choice Security 20 Most Improved Cities Award in late 2014 for their efforts to cut back crime.
Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6