Yesterday, a street cop friend and I had our usual informal, free wheeling policy talk. We discussed two of my favorite alternative public safety models, the British police community support officer ( PCSO ) and the global Guardian Angels street patrol, founded in New York.
He vetoed the PCSO concept, stating that non-police officers like animal control and parking enforcement already exist which can issue summons. His opinion was identical to a public position taken by the Police Association of New Orleans ( PANO ) president regarding the now-defunct Nola Patrol. Nola Patrol was to address quality of life, parking and traffic concerns in the French Quarter. The PANO head noted NOPD; parking enforcement and public safety rangers already addressed those issues. I appreciate reluctance to duplicate PCSOs in America. British police unions-unsuccessfully- opposed them, too. Active duty police feel more officers, not specialized spin offs, are the answer to crime suppression.
New Orleans Police Department has serious recruitment and retention problems, while violent crime soars upward. He also felt the Guardian Angels should be replaced by engaged communities solving problems en masse, instead of full contact volunteers.
Engaged community is the heart of my UrbanSafetyism, where we create safety instead of awaiting rationing from public and private sources. Our talk ended with agreement upon increased police staffing and community action as solutions agreeable to any reasonable person. Engaging communities is quicker than awaiting recruits to complete the academy and field training.
Urban stakeholders and police have common ground which shouldn’t be surrendered to well publicized agitators opposed to consensus.
Consensus, not conflict, creates safety.
-Nadra Enzi aka Cap Black, Your UrbanSafetyist. @nadraenzi on twitter.