Cobie Wells currently serves Union City, Indiana as chief of police and leads the staff of police officers with innovation, community involvement and passion. Born in Winchester, Indiana, Wells moved to Arkansas until his late teen years.
Wells returned to the Winchester area and graduated from Winchester High School. Answered an ad for as a reserve officer on the Winchester Police Department, and was hired and quickly moved into a full-time position. In 2010 he was named police chief for Union City.
In his brief tenure, his goal was to bring the police department to be a part of the community. With that goal in mind, he has set into motion a community base of many programs. The need for officers to be counseled for death notifications, stress and other difficult situations, Wells saw the need for a chaplain. This position was filled by Pastor Geoff Grow of the Wesley United Methodist Church. This partnership has provided the officers opportunity during a stressful situation to talk to Grow. This has been an enormous growth and bonding opportunity for the entire department. Officers need to speak to someone outside the command staff and a chaplain has served that role.
The officers have initiated a program called “Kids Camp” for children in grades 4-6. A three-day two-night camp with the officers, learning life lessons, building a relationship with the youth of the community. The children get involved in community projects and thrive on doing something that counts for their hometown. Wells stated the kids love the program. Last year was the initial camp with 40 children involved. Volunteers and officers/mentors ran the program which will now be an annual program.
A Youth Guidance Program has been initiated by Wells and his officers. An under aged child who has committed a lesser offense is eligible for the program. Thus far 12 children have participated, with 3-4 graduating, one unable to complete and others are continuing the program. This is an opportunity for the child to work with a mentor at the local church and educate them to prevent future offenses. Guiding the child to learn to make better decisions is the entire goal of all the programs being done and initiated in Union City.
A Drug Take Back Program has recently started at the police department. A box is in the lobby of the police department and provides a place to dispose of old medicines without them being available for a risk of falling into the wrong hands.
A Heroin Program begins on Jan. 27. This program will be an “in your face” program at the high school with speakers from law enforcement as well as a former addict. Wells is meeting with other law enforcement officials that are eager to begin these programs in other schools. If you take nothing else away from this article, remember the power of the volunteering to reach the youth in the community can make a difference
The department and city provide a school resource officer on site in the Union City School system. It is quite unusual for a community as small as Union City to have such a resource. The officer is on command center so it does not take an officer off the streets. The officer teaches the D.A.R.E. program and sociology in the school, interacting with the students and making them feel safe. This has been a very successful program.
A new program Wells hopes to initiate soon is the Narcan Program. Although controversial, the chief believes getting individuals off drugs to save a life is first step. He hopes to begin an Angel Program which will work with individuals to admit they have an addiction program and help them find the proper resources needed. Wells stated it is necessary to admit that a community has a problem and come face to face with addiction. It may take as many as twelve times through a program for an individual to understand and try to overcome their addiction. It is a nasty business, but confronting and admitting there is a problem is the first step.
Wells believes and says, “You cannot arrest your way out of addiction.” It is only the first step and with help and resources made available, one addict at a time, makes a difference in our community.
Wells and his wife, Cristy, have three children and reside in Union City. They love the people and are very active in the community. Opportunities have come along for Wells and his wife to move to other communities, but they have chosen to stay here and make a difference. All of the programs that Wells and his department have and are creating will take many volunteers and the willingness of citizens to get involved. If you would like to volunteer in any of the program or have the resources to help in any way, please contact Chief Wells at 765 964 5328
What have you done for your community this week?
Linda DeHaven is the new author of the weekly column Union City News for The Daily Advocate. She may be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.