COVINGTON, Va. – People in the city of Covington shouldn't be surprised if they see a police officer at their front door soon.
The Covington Division of Police started a community canvass initiative this week, and plans to visit every neighborhood in the city to talk with residents.
“We are going to go street by street, house by house, and whether it takes four months, five months, eight months, a year, our goal is to make a connection with every citizen," said Sgt. Richard Baker with the police department.
The community canvass is an initiative that Covington's new chief of police, Anthony Morgan Jr., wanted to start. The goal is to help neighbors get to know the officers in their community, and officers to build relationships with Covington's residents.
"If we make a connection with somebody and, say, six months to a year down the line we have to come back for a call for service, they'll remember talking to me or another officer because they'll remember that connection," Baker said.
One neighbor who police talked with during a canvass of West Parrish Street said the police presence makes him feel safer.
"It's what keeps the crime down when you see an officer patrolling the neighborhood," Larry Anderson said.
Police agreed that can be a deterrent to crime.
"If there's anybody that is considering committing a crime, if they know that the police are in this area more often then they'll be less inclined to commit crimes," Baker said. "That's the concept."
The community canvass started Monday. Baker said residents often share concerns with officers that aren't related to crimes.
"A lot of the things we're hearing when we go talk to people are about the gutters, the street signs, the fire hydrants, things of that nature," Baker said. Police officers then share that information with the appropriate department.
Baker said the goal is to make residents more comfortable with seeing police in their neighborhoods and talking with officers.
"For me, I want to build relationships that are lasting," Baker said.