A Need for Community Collaboration Here and Now

—–By Kenneth Harris—-

Members of our communities and representatives of the Springfield Police Department must embrace the practice of sustaining a healthy collaboration in an effort to improve standards of living city wide.

For nearly a year, I took it upon myself to visit all the monthly Beat Management Team meetings, with the exception of the Sixteen Acres and Mason Square sectors, and can say with confidence it is no secret that many residents have no interest nor time to participate in sound discussions with community policing members.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again―just like how President Abraham Lincoln put it, “A house divided by itself cannot stand.” Police and community cannot attain the best solutions without a channel of communication where a majority of residents are involved. Public and police interactions are a necessity for the growth of mutual understanding.

The purpose of lively discussions is to introduce concerns where a call to action in a public setting can benefit all who are desirous of obtaining an acceptable quality of life in the areas of living or work.

Honestly, I, myself, have not attended every meeting in my own residential sector due to personal obligations that prevented my availability. However, I am proud to have appeared at most of the presentations for my own desire of staying informed about what’s going on.

Previously, I attended several of these discussions in various parts of the city and I gathered the input I was seeking. I no longer see a need to attend meetings outside of my own neighborhood. I realized that monthly crime statistics may differ, but what is common is a lack of interest or zero availability for a majority of residents to come out and let their voices be heard.

I find this disturbing because the small groups of residents who do appear are in a position to speak for everyone in the neighborhood. Naturally, I can’t see this as an true collaboration because all of us have various degrees of concerns, suggestions, and opinions from which to offer sound solutions to rectifying the issues around us.

To engage more residents to attend their monthly Beat Management Team meetings, perhaps all of us who do show up can make an effort to convince family, friends, and coworkers to participate. Maybe the community policing unit can be more visible in the neighborhoods on foot or bicycle patrol to interact and gain the trust of those they are sworn to protect. After all, the birth and history of community policing in our city started with a foundation of citizen and police interaction. Anyone who says otherwise, I urge them to check out www.springfieldpolice.net. Go to “About the Department” and click “History of the SPD”. There’s an old but accurate video that explains the purpose of community policing.

The cooperation of all of our residents is needed just as much as police community engagement in order to foster a long term and satisfactory relationship. A resident can come to a meeting and get answers about a problem from the police in a public setting. Why think otherwise? Based on my experience, I found the police officers at these meetings to be professional and the kind who want residents to step up and help them reduce the disorders that hinder the acceptable quality of life we hope for.  http://www.afampointofview.com/?post_type=ai1ec_event&p=4947&preview=true

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