Town Council meets to discuss employee satisfaction, virtual reality training program

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press
The most recent meeting of the Prosper Town Council was on Feb. 23 following a week of extreme winter weather.

The Prosper Town Council met for their regular meeting on Feb. 23.  Council member Amy Bartley reviewed the upcoming events, including the Blood Drive, Parks and Recreation Spring Break Academy, the rescheduled Fishing Derby for March 6, and the Pecan Grove park meeting on March 17.  

The Prosper Fire Department was recognized for their service assisting residents during the inclement weather the previous week, including turning off water to homes and assisting residents in removing water.  Additionally, the town council was recognized by town staff for ensuring that the Prosper electric grid has high quality standards within the town limits. Finally, Councilperson Bartley worked with the Prosper Police Department to offer warming stations at Prosper Community Library, including the police officers traveling to at risk areas of town and notifying residents of the warming stations.  

The council discussed the Community Picnic tentatively scheduled for September 25, 2021.  The council continued to account for social distancing.  Park and Recreation Director Dudley Raymond proposed that the town hire a band to provide entertainment.  “In the past we have focused on Prosper-based non-profit groups,” Raymond said.  “We can have some business sponsorship as well as celebrate the non-profits that support our community.  I think there is a way for us to have a balance between celebrating Prosper and having business sponsorship.  We are tentatively thinking of a bbq theme, but we wanted to get the councils’ feedback before getting more detailed in our planning.  We will continue to plan this, but will cut back on the picnic if there are Covid-19 reasons to keep the celebration smaller this year.”

In late 2020, the Town of Prosper hired a survey company to gauge how the staff in the town felt about their work environment.  Most survey results were higher in 2020 than had been in the past.  All survey results showed that the Town of Prosper is a more favorable place to work than average results for towns of similar sizes.  Overall, 89% of the staff of Prosper stated that Prosper is an “excellent place to work.”  According to the presenter, this will encourage people who work for other towns to consider working for Prosper if given the opportunity.  The majority of the staff responded favorably in regard to how Prosper responded to Covid-19.  According to the survey company the organizational culture is healthy.  Goals for the next two years will include more training and manager development, streamline the hiring process, and diversity and harassment training.  The next survey will take place in 2022. 

Prosper Police Department will begin a new training program.  This program is a virtual reality program that allows four officers to train for active shooter training.  This grant-funded program is the first from the Govred Technology Inc. program in the state of Texas.  This program will allow officers to learn and practice formations and reaction times.  This model will allow the officers to train in the station in the multipurpose room, and allows for the department to train and build relationships with the Celina Police Department and the Prosper ISD officers.  “These virtual reality training are so real and useful for our department,” Chief Doug Kowalski said.  “This allows us to use the space we have to do some crucial training.  Our officers are excited to use this type of training.  Additionally, because this training is funded by a grant, it will not cost the town any additional monies.  We will still need to have training with live ammunition, including marksmanship, but this allows us to do a large portion of the training within this program.