Funding Could Put Community Policing Programs at Risk
Posted September 9, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — Police sub-stations are popping up across the Triangle as officers look for ways to become more involved in the community. While the programs are proving to be successful, they are also in jeopardy.
Chavis Heights is one of four Community Police Assistance Stations, or COMPASS stations, set up by theRaleigh Police Department. Others are set up in Halifax Court, Walnut Terrace and Heritage Park.
The community police station is the dragnet that is keeping Chavis Heights residents safe and the criminal element out.
Officers and residents say without the station, the neighborhood would be a much different and dangerous place to live.
"I do feel safer with the police department here," says resident Jessie Copeland.
Copeland has raised three generations of children in this neighborhood. She has called Chavis Heights home for 50 years.
"If that presence wasn't there, I think these people who don't care or who don't live here will take over," she says.
"Most people like the fact that we're here, I believe," says Sgt. Bruce Embry, who has been patrolling Chavis Heights for two years.
So far this year, no murders, rapes or robberies have been reported. Embry says the drop in major crimes is significant and it is showing in the neighborhood.
"You see people coming out of their homes. They'll have little events or cookouts outside their apartments," he says.
Embry says community policing brings children out of the house and onto the playground.
While this federal program could be in jeopardy nationwide, Raleigh is not ready to hit the panic button just yet.
"We've set up programs that can last through federal grants. We can continue our programs regardless of what happens in Washington next month," says Capt. Dennis Poteat of the Raleigh Police Department.
Neighborhood police stations are supposed to be staffed 24 hours a day, but that is not always the case due to staffing problems.
The federal government is making available one million dollars to six law enforcement agencies for the hiring of police officers for schools and neighborhoods. Among them, Fuquay-Varina and Zebulon.