Park, Walk, and Talk Program Begins in Daytona Beach
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
The Daytona Beach Police Department entered the New Year with preparations for a new program that seeks to forge a tighter bond between the police Department and the Daytona Beach Community.
Starting this month, all Daytona Beach Patrol Officers will be required to Park, Walk, and Talk for at least 30 minutes every shift.
The Park, Walk, and Talk initiative will have officers do the following:
- Park their vehicles somewhere in their assigned zone.
- Walk out of their vehicles and on to the streets
- Talk to the people living or working in those neighborhoods.
According to a release from Daytona Beach Police Department, several officers – including DBPD Chief Jakari Young – have conducted trial runs of PWT in the Midtown area. Based on those initial results, Chief Young believes it’s time to expand PWT into every one of DBPD’s 16 patrol zones right away.
“It’s all about community engagement,” Young said. “Just being out here so that the residents know who we are, and we know who they are.”
Chief Young hopes PWT will encourage officers to develop relationships with those who live or work in their patrol area and give those people an officer they can rely on to handle any suspicious activity in that area.
“When something does occur or they don’t feel comfortable about a situation, there’s no hesitation about calling us because it all centers around trust,” Young added. “They have to trust us for them to call us.”
Chief Young also feels PWT will show the “human” side of police work by creating an environment where officers can focus on the concerns of residents and business owners, even if it’s not police-related.
“The ultimate goal is for them to understand that we’re a part of the community,” Young stated. “They don’t just need to see us when something happens. They need to see us when there’s absolutely nothing going on.”
Officers will be required to log every PWT shift with dispatch and have it cleared by their supervisors. Shifts will be staggered to ensure that DBPD has enough available officers to respond to emergencies as needed.
Officers will also discuss what they discover during PWT with their supervisors, helping to create and adjust plans for fixing neighborhood problems as they come up.
PWT isn’t expected to create an additional financial strain for the department, though Chief Young does hope to hire additional officers so that PWT can be done more consistently without causing a strain on patrol coverage.
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