Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Report out from Area Commander Meeting: July 13, 2009

This evening's Area Commander meeting focused on the Southeast quadrant of the city (East of Garey and South of Holt). Here's a quick report out of observations, issues, and questions that came up:

I. We heard (again) about the Area Commander concept. If you don't already know about it, check out previous posts labeled "SARA Meetings." The facilitators circulated yet another new handout complete with new e-mail addresses for the commanders and new pairings of Community Service Officers with quadrants. I had no idea we had a new CSO until tonight, and I'm told the change took place a month ago. At any rate, I'll request an electronic copy of the handout for the blog.

II. I was very pleased to see Spanish language translation at the meeting. The translation service clearly played a role in making it possible for people to participate in the meeting who could not have participated in an English-only meeting.

III. Participants raised a bunch of questions about ne'erdowell neighbors who drink all day, smoke various substances all night, and generally manage to intimidate others on the block. The only real action point suggested by PD is the usual: keep calling dispatch. I was surprised by the PD's responses to these concerns -- not a single mention of the value of organizing with others in the community (well, no mention until I asked whether a CSO could speak to the role a Neighborhood Watch group could play in addressing such concerns). I think the PD missed a big opportunity here to plug Neighborhood Watch and to explain the role of the Crime Prevention Unit.

IV. Other issues raised: whether it is appropriate to request a Spanish-speaking officer when calling dispatch (answer: yes, but one may not be available), how to get pitted alleys repaired (answer: communicate with the Director of Public Works), and how to get parking lines repainted (answer: again, Public Works).

V. I was disappointed to hear a resident from the Northwest quadrant say he has heard nothing about a concern he filed at last month's meeting. This evening he was told to initiate another complaint; this response took the wind out of my sails. I thought the whole purpose of the Area Commander Meetings was to make sure residents and PD could benefit from two-way communications. At least in this case, it seems the guy was asked to go through the motions a second time, having seen no benefit from his earlier efforts to share information. Argh.

VI. Community Service Officer Sonia Carrigan offered a brief presentation about identity theft.

VII. Crime maps for the past month were available in hard copy. I will e-mail the Crime Prevention Unit to request pdfs for blog posting. Stay tuned.

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