THE WINNER OF THE 1998 EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY POLICING AWARD ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES, MAYOR’S CONFERENCE 

COMMUNITY SERVICE UNIT

  (404) 559-6274

PROGRAM SUMMARY 

Before adopting the community service philosophy, the City of East Point was plagued with pockets of violent crimes, drug trafficking, and various social ills that facilitate crime. To further compound matters, the police department only operated under the traditional philosophy of policing. As a result, a large division between the community and the police department developed. The community adamantly distrusted the police department, and envisioned it as a force that constantly harassed neighborhood youths, targeted African-American and Hispanic males, and protected and served a small minority. Consequently, the police department mostly responded to incidents after they had happened.  There was not a tool in use to deter crime. Therefore, crime in most categories continued to increase. 

The City of East Point and the East Point Police Department adopted the Community Service Philosophy in 1995 to bridge the ever-growing gap between the community and the police department. The Mayor and City Council, by resolution, adopted the Community Service philosophy.  The Chief of Police implemented the organizational strategy to reach the goals and objectives inherent in the philosophy. Below is a listing of many changes implemented by the Chief of Police to ensure Community Service success: 

To develop departmental understanding of the Community Policing philosophy, the East Point Police Department set up the following annual training classes for patrol officers:

In addition to instilling an understanding of Community Service, we designed these courses to give the patrol officers additional resources in dealing with the public. It is our belief that if officers have a better understanding of the communities and the issues that concern them, he or she will be inure adept at analyzing incidents, responding to those incidents and evaluating the success or failure of his or her response. 

The public has been extremely receptive. Complaints against officers have decreased and positive comments have increased. The Cultural Diversity training has been extremely instrumental in allowing officers to see issues from the perspective of the public and deal with the issues or incidents objectively while also understanding and respecting the cultural diversity issues of various group within the City of East Point. 

To create collaborative relationships between the police department, schools, businesses, community group, and local churches, community meetings are held. In these meetings, we allow that the public presented the issues that concern them and the police department takes those issues and implement programs to address the issues. If the issues are not under the jurisdiction of the police department, the public is referred to the appropriate agency. These meetings breed trust between the community and the police department. This is evident by the involvement of the community in policing their communities. They are taking more responsibility in addressing community issues and they are becoming more active in volunteerism. As a result, officer safety and incident resolution has increased tremendously