APD introduces Neighborhood Policing Unit

APD introduces Neighborhood Policing Unit
Sergeant Wade Pennington with APD's Neighborhood Policing Unit
Sergeant Wade Pennington with APD's Neighborhood Policing Unit

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - With the community's trust in mind, the Amarillo Police Department has created a new unit of cops.

It's called the Neighborhood Policing Unit -- eight officers and one supervisor designated to give special attention to certain areas in Amarillo.

The idea came from the new interim Chief, Ed Drain. Following some criticism over an in-depth analysis of APD policies and procedures, Drain said it was time for a squad that could re-define the term "community policing" in the city.

"People in the community will recognize us as these neighborhood officers," said Sergeant Wade Pennington, in charge of the new unit. "So, there will be no doubt who we are."

The goal is to pay special attention to the North Heights community, San Jacinto neighborhood, and an area of town referred to as the Barrio.

"We're going to have bicycle officers back out there," said Pennington.

Pennington adds having these officers on bikes is the key because it gets them out of their cars and on the streets talking to people -- developing a trust with residents.

"It's going to be a good thing for the community and the police department to reach back out and let these people know we want them to be safe," said Pennington. "We want the communities to be better because we're out there helping and working together."

While this is something new, Pennington says it's really more of a revival. Years back, the APD had a similar unit but it turned into the PACE squad -- officers who devote their attention to crimes around town.

Now these officers will be reassigned to the Neighborhood Policing Unit.

"They will be very flexible with their hours," said Pennington. "They will mainly be doing it (Neighborhood Policing Unit) during the day but it will be very easy for them to can change their hours and adjust to what's going on in the community at night."

New bikes are on the way for these officers as well as new training to help them use the bike as a tool. 

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