Since becoming Chief of Police for the City of Danville in February of 2018, I have had two primary focus areas: to reduce violent crime and increase the community outreach efforts of the Danville Police Department. I have found Danville to be a great city that is open to new ideas, ideas that will only continue to make us a safer city and a great place to live, work, and play.
A key part of community engagement for us as police officers is just getting out of our cars and talking to people. We all remember, either from our childhood or from TV, seeing the officer walking the “beat”, connecting with people and solving everyday neighborhood problems. Our community walks are a way for the police department to get back to where true community policing started – engaging with residents of our neighborhoods and helping them make those neighborhoods better. Every month, the police department picks a neighborhood where the Chief and dozens of officers gather to walk door to door, talk with the residents, and identify problems that they need help with. These problems vary, but have included speeding, loud music, drug dealing, and blighted properties – issues that they might not have called 911 for, but need addressing. After each walk, we come back together as group, report out on what issues we have identified, and strategize how we can effectively impact that neighborhood’s problems. So far this year, we have visited the following neighborhoods:
Cardinal Village on February 22, 2108
Danville Estates on March 22, 2018
The Old West End on April 18, 2018
North Main Area on May 17, 2018
Almagro on June 23, 2018
Community and Youth Engagement Unit
In April, I created the Community and Youth Engagement Unit, a group off officers, led by Captain Tommy Merricks, with the goal of actively working with the community on a daily basis to build trust with our police department and to solve community problems.
The unit consists of a Community Resource Officer, Corporal David Austin, a Youth Engagement Officer, Sylvia Brooks, and a Crime Prevention Officer, Corporal Timothy Scarce. Corporal David Austin works with city agencies to target blighted properties in our community, properties that have become an eyesore and can contribute to the decline of a neighborhood. Officer Brooks works with our city’s youth to create programs and community events that foster positive working relationships and continue to build trust. Corporal Scarce works leads the department’s crime prevention efforts by educating the public on ways to protect themselves from crime.
Police Youth Academy
The Danville Police Department is currently hosting its first ever Police Youth Academy, with 40 kids from the City of Danville coming together to learn about policing, leadership, and communication skills.
Youth Engagement Days
Officer Sylvia Brooks and the Community and Youth Engagement Team have held several successful youth events this year, and have several more planned throughout the summer. Visit the Showcase Magazine calendar for dates.