Officials say community policing program a success

Officials say community policing program a success

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Community policing has been going on in Amarillo since 2016, and according to Amarillo Police Department Chief Drain, it's going quite well.

"From the residents that live in the neighborhoods where we have those officers, they like having the officers there," said Chief Drain. "Their offices are actually in those neighborhoods, so the comments we've gotten back from citizens have been positive."

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He says the purpose for community policing is to enrich the relationships between residents, business owners and police officers to where their interactions are not strictly law enforcement related.

There are ten community police officers in five neighborhoods around the city: San Jacinto, the Barrio, South Lawn, East Ridge, and North Heights.

Officer Prewett and Officer Burns are the neighborhood police officers of North Heights.

"We get a lot of feedback, especially the older people in these communities. We hear all the time, 'Hey we appreciate it. We see you guys everyday. It's the same two officers. We feel more comfortable coming to you guys. We know your face,'" said Officer Burns.

Like most neighborhood officers, they have a personal work phone that residents can call directly instead of going through 9/11 dispatch.

Officer Burns' and Officer Prewett's office is located in the center, next to the basketball courts, where neighborhood kids often come after school to play basketball. It gives both the kids and officers time to spend with each other.

"You know I get some kids," said Officer Burns. ""Yo, Burns! You gonna come play ball with us?' I'm like 'Hey, tomorrow when you get out of school I'll meet you up here 3:30 to 4 o'clock. Once you get done with school come up here and we can go shoot in the gym,' Instead of who else, they might be running the streets with their friends. They can come up here and say officers aren't bad.  We can make it fun for everybody."

Chief Drain says he hopes to expanded community policing into other neighborhoods in the near future.

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