Law Enforcement Officers in Kansas City do a lot of community policing. But do their measures bring value to the local community? Read all the details here!
The Importance of Community Policing
The main job of law enforcement officers is to find and apprehend criminals. But is that the only thing they do? Definitely not. In the broader sense, the police have a duty to make sure their local communities function properly. And that doesn’t just mean making arrests. For example, they also do community policing. Within that system, police officers are dispatched to different local communities to get to know the locals and build relationships with them. And perhaps even more importantly — establish trust in the police.
That’s why the Kansas City Police department has quite an extensive community policing organization. This year, they participated in an Easter egg hunt and other holiday activities with the locals. They took great care to make sure kids from lower-income families got to participate as well. Some of them wouldn’t have attended otherwise, seeing as their parents were constantly at work, or they didn’t have the available transportation. In that case, police officers drove the kids to the events.
When it comes to areas like the west side, the existence of community policing efforts is especially important. That’s why the Community Action Network (CAN) Center is crucial to the improvement of areas which have a shady past. According to officers who were on duty there, the place is notorious for high crime rates.
Officer Chato Villalobos described how one particular intersection in the area was especially problematic. He knows this not only from his professional experience as a police officer but from his personal life as well. Villalobos actually grew up in the area, and he knows all of its flaws and virtues.
He recalls that day-workers used to gather at the aforementioned intersection, between Summit Street and Southwest Boulevard, looking for a job. But a lot of local Kansas City criminals started gathering there and exploiting the locals. Many years later, though, the CAN Center was there to give jobless people some respite. Nowadays, the men waiting to find work at the intersection can stop by the CAN Center for some rest, a free meal, and a clean restroom.
Officers also organize frequent events in which they help people escape poverty by finding a job. For example, many ex-offenders have a lot of trouble in their quest for a decent job. All of them report that no matter how well an interview goes, at one point, employers discard their applications. Simply put — employers rarely want to hire an ex-con. That’s why Kansas City police officers organize a job fair for people who’ve been incarcerated.
These thoughtful police officers recognize how important it is to help offenders transition back to a normal way of life. They know that this is the best way to prevent past offenders from committing crimes again. If they see support from where they least expect it — in other words, the police — they will be more likely to adapt back to regular civilian life.
As officer Villalobos put it — the purpose of community police work is to work yourself out of a job.