Community policing program grows
by Andy Koen
COLORADO SPRINGS - In the mid-morning hours Monday, Vanessa Jones is driving her patrol car through the Garden of the Gods taking a careful look at all of the vehicles in the parking lot.
"This in an area that we patrol quite frequently," Jones said.
She is one of about 15 Community Service Officers, or CSO's for short, that are now patrolling the streets of Colorado Springs.
"We're the ones in the green squad cars. We're the ones that go to non-emergent calls, no suspect information, to kind of help assist the officers with their workload."
The CSO program began in 2010 and has proved successful enough that CSPD Chief Pete Carey says the department is expanding.
"We have about a dozen CSO's out in the field and we're going to double that number."
These officers don't carry a gun and can't make arrests. However, they are trained to defend themselves, wear bullet proof vests and carry pepper spray. They also investigate some crimes, like vehicle break-ins.
Chief Carey says the CSO's have been a great help to the sworn officers.
"I'm told that the officers think the CSO's are kind of rock stars, they get all the good assignments and they don't get people as mad at them."
In fact, one main reasons for expanding their ranks is to give crime victims someone to talk to face-to-face even for routine calls.
"You can see that the community appreciates us coming out and having that face to face whereas we didn't have that before," Jones said.
The Community Service Officers receive approximately 4 weeks of training in defensive tactics, policy, procedure, criminal statute, and civil liabilities. The next police academy for the new CSO's is expected to begin in mid-May.
New police chief continues community walk-throughs
by Catie Beck
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Since the controversial departure of former Police Chief Bryan Norwood, questions have been circulating about what policies and practices of his will remain and which will be changed.
It was clear Monday evening that one principal practice of Norwood's will remain intact.
“I'm very excited to do it, i think it's a great idea, it gets us all out here,” said Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic.
He's embracing an idea of the man he took over for; community walk-throughs. Monday evening was in the city's North side.
“Meghan, Hi, Ray Tarasovic, pleasure to meet you,” he said, as he greeted one community leader.
Norwood started the tradition of a community walk-through at the RPD, canvassing city homes and asking residents what police could do better on their streets.
“What can we do for you?” asked Tarasovic as he went door to door Monday night.
Norwood would almost always be visible on the walk-throughs and made a point to connect with faith leaders along the way. Tarasovic says the tradition is a good one and one the department will continue.
“The future is engaging with the community, you can call it community policing, you can call it community engagement you can call it whatever you chose to call it,” said Tarasovic.
Some RPD command staff says the simple practice which rotates to neighborhoods across the city has proven most helpful in closing cases. They say with trust comes information.
“Getting information on the cases was difficult, was problematic, now the information comes in right away,” said fourth precinct Lt. Lewis Mills.
“We're doing ok, things could be better, we're working on it,” said Tarasovic to one neighbor.
The chief wasn't yet a recognizable face to many on the walk through but he hopes that won't be the case for long.
“Even though we're in command and in charge, we're still the police,” he said.