Gary Gacek is likely the first police chief hired in the City of Concord's history from out of state.
Gacek, a 25 year veteran of law enforcement, was a captain at the Milwaukee Police Department, in charge of about 200 officers. That's about the same number on the entire police force in Concord.
The new chief plans to get out to neighborhood meetings and find out how police officers can help the community.
Gacek said, “A lot of the best ideas for what a neighborhood needs is going to come from the neighborhoods themselves. I want them to have a seat at the table and to inform me on how best they want the Concord Police Department to serve their community.”
He says in order to keep up with Concord's growth, there will be a need for more officers eventually. But right now he wants to make sure the police department is using the resources it already has in the most efficient ways.
Gacek is in favor of equipping officers with body cameras, but he says the process requires testing and time to implement. He said, “It’s (equipping officers with body cameras is) a move in the right direction, not only for the police departments for officers, but it’s a move in the right direction, to make sure that the community has a greater amount of trust and confidence in not only what we do, but how we do it.”
He also wants his officers to use social media for crime-fighting and crime prevention. Back in April of this year, investigators say some young men got into an argument inside Concord Mills mall near the movie theater. Police say the fight, which was posted on social media, spilled outside, and a 15-year old was cut in the face with a box cutter.
Gacek said in some cases, if police track possible problems between people on social media, they can prevent any escalation on the street. He said, “If we have information or intelligence that suggests that this group is feuding with this group, and they’re going to meet up to solve this conflict somewhere, we need to beat them there, but it requires paying close attention to social media and having that close relationship with your bordering law enforcement agencies.”
Gacek also plans to meet with leaders of city departments and find out which areas in Concord, such as residential or business, are projected to grow the most and determine how police can provide services to keep up with that growth.