Cambridge Police launch two new initiatives

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Special to Dorchester Banner/Cambridge Police Department
Standing in front of 608-102 Greenwood Ave. are (from left): Chief Daniel Dvorak, PFC Joe Jones, Police Recruit Kason Washington, Sergeant Antoine Patton, and PFC John Foster.

CAMBRIDGE — The Cambridge Police Department announces the launch of two operational initiatives to encourage communication and cooperation with Cambridge residents and strengthen the police and community partnership.

The Neighborhood Beat Officer Program will change the way officers are assigned to patrol districts in the city. “Officers have been rotating from one patrol district to another during their work days, and a resident calling the police could have one of any 30 officers from the patrol division respond to a call,” said Chief Daniel Dvorak. “Under this program, each officer is assigned to one district which means people are likely to see only one of five officers respond to a call. The goal is that officers will get to know the people in their districts, build relationships, discuss problems in the neighborhood and come up with solutions.”

The second initiative is the opening of a new community office. “Problem solving is the cornerstone of community policing. We need feedback from the community in order to address issues affecting the quality of life and hopefully make our neighborhoods safe,” said Chief Dvorak. “Last year I met with management and residents from Bay Country Apartments on Greenwood Avenue. The general feeling was that most residents want to live peacefully but a few characters were spoiling it for everyone. The main complaints were people hanging out who do not live there and cars that do not belong to tenants taking up parking spaces.”

During the months that followed, Sgt. Antoine Patton, commander of the Community Policing Unit, had several meetings with management. He sent a request to HUD for an apartment in the complex to use as a community office. The request was recently approved, and the department has acquired 608 Greenwood Ave, Apartment 102. This is a first floor apartment in the heart of the complex and will serve as the base of operations for the neighborhood beat officers, bicycle patrol, foot patrol and community police officer Patrolman First Class John Foster. “Our new office gives a sense of hope for the future of our city,” said Sgt. Patton. “It will reduce crime and give the residents peace. The police presence will allow the citizens and children to take back their community!”

Chief Dvorak said, “The combination of these two programs means patrol officers will be able to discuss problems they discover in their districts with the community police officer. They will work with residents to come up with solutions and put plans into action. Districts 1 and 2 (election wards 2 and 4) will be managed by PFC Foster, while PFC Chris Phillips will manage District 3 (election wards 1, 3 and 5) from the community office at 428 Race St.”

The police department is asking residents for feedback so they can begin addressing concerns. Some people have indicated they felt nothing was ever done in the past and therefore have stopped trying. But now is the time to reach out again. The department is utilizing every form of media to reach the community; television, radio, newspapers, social media, and they even have their own app for smartphones … MyPd.

Identifying yourself is the best way to communicate because the community police officer can return a call and ask questions, but if the caller wishes to remain anonymous they can call the Tips line 410-228-DRUG (410-228-3784). They can also text anonymously through the MyPd app.

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