WM Police Commission gets down to business
DETER program, city cleanup make agenda for first meeting of 2017
West Memphis Police Commission started the new year with a January meeting. It was the first meeting since Sept. 7.
Ward 5 Councilman Willis Mondy was renamed chairman and he summarized the meeting for the City Council on Jan. 19.
The committee discussed the new DETER program, and praised the results of duty officers working for the city housing authority and forwarded a request to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
DETER focuses on violent crime reduction and rolls out at the start of February.
Assistant Police Chief Eddie West told the committee the acronym spells out the policing methods and goal of the program.
“It’s called DETER and each letter states something about what the program does,” West told commissioners.
Data Enhanced Targeted Enforcement and Restoration (DETER) zooms in on violent crime areas through data analysis. The panel heard that residents in the target area would receive letters explaining police focus in advance of the operation.
“This is part of a federal program,” said Mondy. “It will start February 1.”
DETER is a collaboration between the WMPD and the Violence Reduction Network. The research partner is Justice & Security Strategies and the local program is based on the success it had with the Los Angeles Police Department. West Memphis has a higher rate of violent crime than other cities its size.
Computer analysis points to hot spots for crime and chronic offenders. DETER relies on teamwork between investigators and patrol. The southwest part of city was chosen for starters through data analysis showing higher incidences of fire arms related crime, and shots fired calls and violent crime in the area.
“DETER is something that is going to stop a lot of crime,” said Councilor Lorraine Robinson. “The notification letters will be sent ahead of time to the particular neighborhoods.”
The police committee eyed block grant funds. A recent influx of cycling tourists to the city was reported and Mondy wanted to beautify the east end of the city to help reduce crime and impress visitors to the city.
Clearing ally ways of overgrowth was seen as a help for patrolman.
Mondy suggested the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money be channeled through to help with the beautification of our city and enhance the living conditions
of our citizens. The
next CDBG action plan will be presented Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. at West Memphis City Hall.
Mondy was also impressed with off duty officers working in the city housing projects.
“Off-duty police officers are working at the housing authority,” said Mondy.
“They are doing a beautiful job over there. The crime has been reduced in the area and it is really helping out.”
Mondy reported one final item of committee business to city council.
“We elected officers, they made me chairman again with Miss Lorraine Robinson as secretary,” said Mondy.
Monthly police committee meetings were scheduled for the second Tuesdays at noon in city hall.
The January meeting had a quorum with representatives from ward 3,4 and 5 present. Ward 1 Councilor James Holt and Ward 2 Councilor Melanie Hutchinson were absent.
The ordinance governing the police commission was updated in 2011. The purpose of the commission is to hear resident complaints, review staffing and personnel actions. The commission
must make written reports to the mayor and recommendations
are to be
presented by the Chairman. The requirement to meet monthly had been a part of an earlier ordinance but was dropped in 2011.
By John Rech