DETROIT – The Detroit Police Department is redoubling its effort to connect with the community in an effort to build trust among residents while increasing their safety.
Police officers have been more active on the streets of Detroit recently, conducting what’s called proactive policing, also known as community policing, which comes in all shapes and sizes. Officers can be seen walking around the city on foot, attending local events and just talking with residents.
And new police chief James White says this is something people will see more of.
“I don’t think a community should only see a police agency when there’s a conflict, when there’s a problem,” White said. “It’s one of the most important things -- if not the most important thing -- that we do. Our relationship with the community is paramount to our success.”
The department is working to build and maintain trust among community members to help improve the relationship between law enforcement and civilians. That’s why White says residents and visitors will see more and more officers outside of their scout cars and walking communities again.
“Being in the community on foot is powerful,” White said. “Particularly when you’re in the neighborhoods, and you’re interacting with the residents. We’ve done that a lot, we’ll continue to do that.”
The neighborhood policing unit is the team responsible for community engagement, and every precinct has its own. But while every neighborhood policing unit has their own process, they all have the same goal: trust.
White says that he hopes the department can earn the people’s trust and keep it, through good times and bad.
“We’re gonna make mistakes. And when we make mistakes, it’s important that there’s accountability and transparency,” White said. “But when you’re engaging your community at a high level, and at a professional level in times of peace, when there’s times of conflict or uncertainty, you’ve built those bridges, and you’ve built that trust early on.”
Watch the full report in the video above.