Community Impact

Community News

Walking alone at night can pose a risk for anybody. Being alert rather that mindlessly playing on a cell phone as you walk is one thing you can do to keep potential criminals away. Sargent Eric Franz notes that most robberies happen when individuals are not paying attention to their surroundings. “Looking at their phone, fumbling with their purse or keys—when you walk to and from somewhere, you’re much less likely to be a victim of crime if you simply look at your surroundings,” Franz said.

Last week more than two dozen Houston police officers traveled to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane recovery on the island.  The 25 officers are scheduled to stay in Puerto Rico for three weeks. Two more groups will join them this month. The Houston officers chosen to go to Puerto Rico will assist local law enforcement agencies with their duties including traffic control. Assistant Chief Pete Lopez said, “They just need help. And that’s why we’re here.” Read more.

Every month, members for the Buffalo Police Department’s Underwater Recovery Team build their skills with dive training. Local news station, WIVB News 4, was recently invited to document some of the training required to prepare the team for search and rescue of a drowning victim or retrieval of crime evidence. Underwater footage captures the team conducting an underwater search with limited visibility, showing the several potential dangers divers face.

For eight years, Lansing resident Jo Meade biked 16 miles round trip to her job washing dishes at a restaurant. It took more than an hour each way. Serving as community policing officer in the area surrounding Ms. Meade’s housing complex, Officer Trevor Arnold became aware of her extensive daily commute. Motivated by Ms. Meade’s work ethic, Officer Arnold worked with a local dealership to buy her a used car out of his own pocket. Officer Arnold noted, “I see a lot of hardworking people but that’s when they are at work.

In Buffalo, New York, an officer was recently commended by the city’s mayor Byron W. Brown for exemplifying “community policing at its best.” Last week, in response to a nuisance call of children playing football in the street, Officer Patrick McDonald chose to join the game, turning the situation into a positive experience for the community. An article from the Buffalo News reports on this interaction and the positive response it has received from the community has a whole.

For communities susceptible to instances of human trafficking for sexual purposes, preventative measures are crucial to proactively addressing the issue. Recently, members of the Albert Lea School Board received a presentation recommending the implementation of a prevention education program for the district’s middle and high school students. This prevention program offered by the Minnesota Department of Health’s organization, Safe Harbor, has already successfully reached thousands of students in southeast Minnesota.

The Dallas Police Department has named Ulysha Renee Hall as the city’s first female police chief. Chief Hall formerly served as Deputy Chief of the Detroit Police Department, where she directed the city’s Neighborhood Policing Bureau and oversaw police services for six precincts and 720 law enforcement personnel. Additionally, in this role she implemented comprehensive community policing programs for the department and worked to strengthen relationships with Detroit’s community members.  She is scheduled to begin work as Dallas Police Chief on September 5.

Diagnostic Center in the News

The Killeen (TX) Police Department has asked the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center for assistance with crime reduction efforts. The Diagnostic Center will work with the department to produce a comprehensive crime reduction strategy by examining local crime data, trends and evaluating resources and response methods.

Starting this month, the Diagnostic Center will begin working with City of Salisbury to address specific local justice issues, including the opioid crisis, violent crime, community engagement and the low clearance rate of homicides and gun crimes. After speaking with a range of community members and analyzing data, the Diagnostic Center will use multi-disciplinary technical assistance approach to Diagnose, Implement and Assess the community’s public safety concerns. Salisbury Police Chief Stokes requested this assistance noting, “This is not a revamp of the police department.

Confronted with persistent or incremental increases in crime, law enforcement leaders are looking for innovative solutions to address public safety issues. At this year’s International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Diagnostic Center will share how agencies of varying sizes can use partnerships and data-driven strategies to fight crime.