DANVILLE, Va. – A new year, a new way of policing.
The Danville Police Department just launched what they refer to as a neighborhood-oriented policing model.
“It’s not new, but it’s new to us,” said Capt. Keith Thompson.
He said there are four pillars of community policing.
The first is that the city is broken up geographically into four quarters: northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest.
Officers are assigned to a quarter and are responsible for incidents in that zone.
“You’re looking at the whole city. A spike in crime in one area might not even be noticed because you have a lot of other things going on,” said Thompson.
Solving crime in one quarter might not look the same in another, and there will be more consistency to solve cases. If something major happens, the department will pull officers from other zones to help out.
Secondly, a decentralized command will allow four lieutenants to lead their own quarters — think of them as mini police departments.
“I don’t have to worry about the northwest sector,” said Lt. John Pulley who’s in charge of the northeast. “Smaller things can get more focused attention.”
Problem-solving and community consultation are the last two key elements.
“We’re not the know-all, be-all, fix-all in law enforcement. We need community to help us,” said Thompson.
They hope the changes will help officers and the community know one another better.
“The city hired us to protect the community, not to oppress the community,” said Thompson.