Does the city’s Sunset Hills area hold sex offenders who could endanger her grandchildren, a woman asked Tuesday evening.
Prank-playing kids knock on doors and windows, then run into the night. Some steal or vandalize holiday yard decorations.
“There’s a dope house” on his street, an older man claimed. “Everyone knows it.”
Each question and complaint drew response and discussion from the officers who patrol the city’s Police District 3 and their boss, Chief John Dossey, along with a general promise.
“We don’t always get the results we seek, but we’ll try,” said Sgt. Courtney Hutchinson, who supervises patrols of the district that covers the city’s southeast side.
Residents of all five police districts, meanwhile, can keep track of what the department is focusing on in their areas and tell the department what concerns them through pages for each district on the department’s Facebook site, Hutchinson said.
Interaction was the theme and result when a half-dozen officers hosted 14 citizens at the first of four annual meetings for District 3 as part of the department’s new Community and Police Problem Solving (CAPPS) program.
The department held its first meeting, for Districts 1 and 2, last week, and will meet next Wednesday with residents in Districts 4 and 5. All meetings take place at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.
On Tuesday, Hutchinson and Dossey explained the CAPPS program and told residents that officers were working on some of the issues that prompted their comments.
They watch for drivers running red lights on Court Street. They’ve spoken to at least one previously convicted sex offender about the laws that govern his living in the heavily residential district. And they know about the alleged drug house.
Motorists, meanwhile, might want to stop on Valle Vista Road at Highwood Avenue — even though no stop signs are posted for Valle Vista at the intersection — if they see a pedestrian about to enter its crosswalk.
“There was someone in the middle of the crosswalk, and cars blew right by him,” said resident Dennis Bengert. “They’re supposed to stop if someone’s in the crosswalk.”
Dossey spoke of the department’s approach through CAPPS to empower district patrol officers “to be social workers, problem solvers,” who will respond to complaints from problem youths to unmowed lawns.
The program and its social media outlets, however, don’t replace 911 when someone sees something, such as a car burglary, that requires immediate police attention.
“When that happens, pick up the phone,” he said.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin