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Thirty Danville Police officers walked door-to-door Thursday afternoon in the Cardinal Village neighborhood to reach out to residents and talk with them about their needs and how the Police Department can make their neighborhood a safer and better place.
The residents expressed concerns about unsupervised kids on the streets, vacant houses, streetlights being out, and frequently hearing shots fired. They requested a greater police presence, especially foot patrols.
Police Chief Scott Booth said the department will follow up on the issues in the coming weeks.
The community engagement walk was the first in a series of 12 planned for the next year in neighborhoods across the city.
“What a great start, and what a great day to be out here to walk,” Booth said while speaking to the officers during a debriefing session following the walk. “I want to thank you for being out here and trying to solve some problems. I am excited about this.”
Danville Police — ranging from command staff to patrol officers — gathered at 2 p.m. at the Cardinal Village youth center, and then divided into eight teams that went door to door to houses on Kemper Road, Bonner Avenue, Edmunds Street and Stephens Street.
“We strategically picked this neighborhood because of some of the challenges of the past, and I think they need to see us,” Booth said. “They need to understand that we are here to protect and serve the community.”
The goal of community engagement walks is to build public trust and develop a personal relationship with the community they serve. Officers handed out cards with direct contact information.
“What I want is for people to understand the role of the Police Department, which is that we are here to help them. And I want to talk with folks who normally would not call the police and tell us what their problems are. We can look at an area and say their issue is violent crime or speeding, but sometimes a neighborhood’s perception of crime is different than the way we look at. So, I want to know what is important to them and how we can solve those problems. That is why we are here.”
Booth said Police not only will be getting information, but giving information during the walks.
The next walk will be held in March. The date and location will be announced in advance of the walk.