Friday, April 24, 2009

On Police and Community Relations

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

After the ANC1c Public Services Committee, I was walking east on Columbia Road with Commissioner Mindy Moretti. We came upon an arrest in progress of a juvenile on Biltmore Street. The police were enmassed, 3 cars, several officers, including Officer Kurtz, our not-so-friendly until-you-get-to-know-him bicycle officer. After some time of scurrying around Biltmore, Officer Kurtz let us know that the young man was being held for a robbery. I am sure all that scurrying was important and related to the case at hand. However, isn't informing the community of the crime that occurred just as important? Mindy and I both knew they were busy and did not impede. We didn't even speak; just watched. Shouldn't the neighborhood officers know and communicate with ANC commissioners and vice versa? That kind of self-imposed separation from people who walk our streets seems counterproductive. It idoes not engender trust and understanding, two elements important to effective community policing. Gone are the days when Officer Friendly would know all the kids in the neighborhood because he met them in kindergarten. Maybe we can move forward to the days when community leaders can meet and know all PSA officers, and officers naturally inform the people about crime in the community. With greater trust and understanding the community would find it easier to share ongoing crime and public safety issues with police.

No comments: