Edmond's new chief still learning about police department
EDMOND — Edmond's newest member of the police department said he is all about the community, partnerships and protecting people's rights.
Chief JD Younger, 47, has been on the job a little over a month.
"I really hope that in a year, they will know what I am going to show up and talk about — accountability and expectations," Younger said of the police department employees.
"I am going to talk about partnerships with the community. You have got 160 people who share the values and have the same goals and they are being realized through the interactions through the community."
Younger, a 23-year veteran of the Norman Police Department, succeeded Bob Ricks, 72, who retired Feb. 3 after 13 years as Edmond's head law enforcement officer.
Younger, originally from Del City, said policing has two components — the community and the police department.
"Both of those components are needed for a successful outcome to any situation," Younger said. "That is what it is about, partnering with the community to come up with long-term solutions to problems.
"We are here to protect the citizens' rights and the only way we can protect those rights is to partner with them to understand their expectations and come up with solutions."
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Younger, who will earn $144,385 a year, said he is still learning the operations of the department, which has an annual budget of $19.3 million.
"As I learn, I will be able to ask questions," he said. "I have found no glaring errors. If I have questions and comments, the staff is equipped to answer. It is important because generally there's not just one way to do something."
So far, Younger has made no big changes at the police department.
"Nothing significant," Younger said. "I'm still going through looking at how we do business here."
Younger calls himself a situation leader, a person who has to be adaptive to whatever situation arises.
"There are cases where you might have more experience," he said. "That doesn't make you necessarily the expert, but it means you can add to the conversation."
Younger said he is in awe of the new $37 million public safety center.
"I won't tell you it isn't enjoyable coming to work because it is in this awesome facility with all the new, updated stuff that works," he said.
But it is the people who make a difference, the new chief said.
"If there was people that weren't competent or share the same values that you have for the community and others, it wouldn't be enjoyable," Younger said. "It is just the people."
"The vast majority of the employees here, all 160, are here for the right reasons. That is a luxury.
"I tell people all the time that I am very fortunate that the city of Edmond and the Edmond Police Department have such great people and great professionals. Because as a newcomer to the organization, I have the luxury of being able to devote the rest of my time establishing relations and meeting people and learning how to do business.
"Not all chiefs are that fortunate. Many new chiefs find disarray, policies outdated or processes that are unacceptable."
Younger served the Norman Police Department in patrol, criminal investigations, staff services and narcotics. His most recent responsibility, as a major, included three patrol divisions and uniform support. He has advanced training in systems management and organizational leadership.
He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in law enforcement administration.
The new chief said he loved the Norman Police Department and the community where he went to college.
"I would have not left that if I didn't think that the Edmond Police Department and the city of Edmond was a better place for me and my family," Younger said.
Younger and his wife of 18 years, Stephanie, and their children Kayden, 16, Jacob, 13, and Mason, 10, will be moving to Edmond as soon as they find a house.
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›