Tuesday, April 21, 2015

South Durham COP program


After a series of crimes in SW Durham, the Parkwood Association asked the Durham Police Department (DPD) to increase the number of officers patrolling South Durham. DPD’s response was that they lacked the manpower to increase patrols.

                Our goal is to give existing officers more time to actively patrol our area by reducing the time they spend on non-emergency services. We are working with the DPD to recruit citizen volunteers for an existing DPD-sponsored program, the Citizen Observer Patrol (COP).

                The COP program uses trained citizen volunteers during daylight hours to perform non-emergency services that that police officers would otherwise do.

                The South Durham COP program, covering Districts 3 and 4, only has enough volunteers to patrol one day a week. According to the DPD COP coordinator, with 17 additional volunteers, this program could have volunteers on patrol every day of the week.

                COP volunteers wear uniforms and patrol during daylight hours in specially-marked cars. They carry assigned hand-held radios linked directly to the central police dispatcher (which gives them direct contact with all uniformed police on patrol) to report suspicious individuals and activities, crimes in progress, abandoned vehicles, and request EMS. COP volunteers help reduce the DPD’s response time.

                We believe that we can recruit these 17 volunteers if the communities in South Durham come together to make their homeowners aware of the COP program and encourage them to attend an April 25, 2015 COP recruitment meeting, where individuals can discuss the program with Officer Suitt (the DPD COP coordinator), other police officers from Police Districts 3 and 4, and current COP volunteers. The meeting will be from 10 to 11am at the Parkwood Volunteer Fire Department, 1409 Seaton Rd, Durham, NC 27713.

                We hope that you will join us in this effort to provide better police protection for South Durham by distributing the attached sheet on the COP program to the residents in your community, sharing on your neighborhood websites or email lists, and encouraging neighbors to attend the recruitment meeting and volunteer to become a COP.

                If you need more information or have suggestions, please contact the Parkwood Association office (pa.office@parkwoodnc.org, 919-544-2161).

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