Monday, June 7, 2010

Neighborhood roll calls

Since last year, we’ve made a point to get our patrol officers out into the community to meet the people they serve outside of their normal contacts responding to 911 calls. I wanted to tell you about their efforts so in case you have gotten the chance yet, you can meet the police who patrol your neighborhood.

Our six patrol divisions all do them differently. Even the different shifts at each division are reaching out to different people. They call them different things, too – community roll calls, front porch roll calls, neighborhood roll calls – but the purpose is the same: to learn about what issues concern you, get to know you, and find out how we can serve you better. Captain Helen Schultz of the Shoal Creek Patrol Division put it very well: “We have had great success with these roll calls and have been given some very valuable information. In addition, we make sure the residents are given a contact person to address any new problems as they arise.”

Below are what some of the different patrol divisions are doing and some upcoming events where you can meet your officers (for more information on any of these, contact the Community Interaction Officer at your division):

Central Patrol
Officers attend many of the regular neighborhood association meetings to address residents’ concerns. Each shift attends one of these meetings every month, and as many officers as possible come. Commanders sometimes attend, as well. Residents can tell their concerns directly to the officers and work with them to resolve neighborhood issues.

Upcoming meetings police are scheduled to attend:
Volker Neighborhood Association – 7 p.m. June 10, 1700 Westport Road
Volker Watch Association – 6 p.m. June 13, 1700 Westport Road

East Patrol
East Patrol is focusing on conducting roll calls at businesses in the historic Northeast neighborhood. They’re using officers who have graduated from the department’s Spanish Immersion program to converse with Hispanic business owners and customers of those businesses about problems they’re facing. They even set up a Spanish-language hotline for residents to leave tips if they’re scared to do so through other means. The number for that is 816-482-8531. You can read more about these efforts here.

Metro Patrol
Metro Patrol officers on all shifts also are attending neighborhood and community meetings to get to know the people they serve and deliver crime prevention advice. Their last one was at the Southeast Caring Coalition meeting on May 25, and more are coming up.

Upcoming meetings police are scheduled to attend:

CPAC (Community Policing Action Cooperative) Meeting – 4 p.m. July 15, 6814 Troost

North Patrol

The North Patrol Division is home to many apartment communities, and officers there have recently focused on getting to know those residents. They attend traditional neighborhood meetings, as well, but coming to apartment complexes has allowed them to meet residents they otherwise wouldn’t. Officer Don Smarker told me, “The response has been really good, and the apartment community residents have liked being recognized as a neighborhood.” The officers tailor their presentations to the communities they’re addressing. For example, one apartment community’s residents had complained about unattended children on the property, so the officers discussed the responsibilities of parents at the meeting. They also share information about neighborhood crime trends, how to avoid being a victim and even when to call 911 as opposed to using another resource. The North Patrol commanders have been to almost all of these meetings, as well, and more are coming up.

South Patrol
In addition to two high-profile events in parks last summer and fall in which SPD officers set up command posts to meet with residents, officers having been beating streets all over south Kansas City to get to know people and teach them about crime prevention. They’ve gone to grocery and convenience stores, greeting people and passing out crime prevention fliers. They’ve hosted safety socials at apartment complexes in conjunction with our Crime Free Multi-Housing Program. They’ve also visited businesses to hear the concerns of business owners and their employees. As South Patrol Officer Mike Hammer says, “It’s a way to be more accessible to the community. Any more we’re stuck in our cars, and this is a way to get out and get to know the community.”

Shoal Creek Patrol
Like the North Patrol Division, the Shoal Creek Patrol Division also houses a lot of apartment communities, and officers on the day shift are making it a point to meet with these residents. The meeting scheduled below is a continuation of these efforts.

Officers and sergeants on the PM shift (late afternoons and evenings) are going into the residential areas, parking their cars and walking around, chatting with people mowing their lawns, out for a jog or anyone they come across. (During the winter months, they meet with residents at neighborhood and community organizations’ meetings.) They’re learning a lot and are even helping residents address quality of life issues with other city departments – things like un-mowed residences and foliage blocking stop signs. Afterward, the officers meet up to share the information they learned talking to residents and come up with action plans for any problems. They return to the neighborhoods periodically to see if the problems are getting resolved.

Upcoming meetings police are scheduled to attend:

Front Porch Roll Call – 9 a.m. June 11, Wild Oak Apartments clubhouse, 7897 NE Flintlock

Our officers are working hard to build relationships with the residents of Kansas City, so please come to one of the meetings where they’re scheduled to be or stop and chat when you see them out and about.

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