04 Feb City Police – Office of Neighborhood Watch issues an open letter on aiding officers in the line of duty
The Neighborhood Watch Unit of the Boise City Police released this letter on neighbors aiding officers engaged in policing duties in the neighborhoods.
Issued this morning, this appears to be a generic FYI request, not tied to any Mesa issue. But with the New Year upon us, it is time that we renew our pledge to be an active and aware neighborhood with a zero tolerance toward crime. Mesa residents interested in joining the Neighborhood Watch Team or simply renewing your services, please contact me and we will get you the materials on getting started.
How You Can Help Police!
Residents have asked how best to assist police, particularly when officers are canvassing their neighborhood in search of a suspect or making an arrest. Often, neighbors want to help but don’t want to be a hindrance or become a distraction. In general, a good rule regarding police assistance is to call Dispatch to report information, rather than approaching an officer directly who may be actively pursuing (or quietly observing) a suspect. Police appreciate the support that citizens offer and they have made the following suggestions:
1. Don’t assume police know what you know.
If you observe a large police presence in your neighborhood, don’t assume that the officers are aware of changes on your property or things that seem suspicious or “out of place”. For example, if they are looking for a suspect, you may notice an open gate, broken fence, dogs barking, or a shed door left slightly open which might indicate someone hiding within the structure. You know what is suspicious for your property, so immediately contact Dispatch who can then radio the officers and share the information.
2. Be a good witness.
If you observe suspicious behavior or see a suspect flee past your location, try to remember any details – clothing, physical attributes, direction headed, vehicle plates, etc. Immediately contact Dispatch and report these observations.
3. Lone officer is struggling in a physical one-on-one and appears to need help – Call or Yell!
If the officer appears to be struggling to control the suspect and he/she has no other officer assistance, don’t assume help has been summoned. Immediately contact Dispatch and report that the officer needs help. There are times when an officer can’t let go of the suspect to reach his/her police radio.
In addition, feel free to shout at the officer “Do you need help?!” The officer may yell to call 911 or may holler at you to stay back. Do not be offended. Keep in mind that a) the officer does not know who you are – you may be a friend of the suspect’s, and b) the officer is caught up in the moment and his/her adrenalin may be at a high level.
4. Appoint neighborhood leaders who support the goals of public safety.
You can also assist by voting in those who support the efforts of law enforcement in reducing crime. Place people in positions who promote crime prevention measures and pursue the needs of the neighborhood rather than advance their own personal agendas. Select and support neighborhood leaders who encourage neighbor communication, partner with police on safety issues, and embrace healthy improvements for the neighborhood.
Dispatch (both contact numbers connect to the same Dispatch center):
911 (emergency, in the act, urgent), or,
377-6790 (time has lapsed, important but not urgent, providing delayed info, gen questions)