Noblesville expanding community policing tactics

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- In a growing city, a local police department is figuring out how to better connect with the community.

Noblesville officers have moved to “beat policing”--patrolling only in assigned areas of town.

“Typically the police officers drive around, they wait until they get a 911 call and then they go,” said Deputy Chief Jon Williams.

Now, when Noblesville police officers drive around, it’s only in a small area of town.

“The neighborhoods within Noblesville are varied and they have different needs,” said Williams.

Those needs, he says, have become more pronounced as Noblesville has grown in recent years.

The hope is that by turning focus from the entire city to just communities or even streets police are really getting to know the people they protect and serve.

“They get to know all of the names, the faces, who belongs, who doesn’t,” said Williams.

For the past year, Williams has watched the department experiment with district or beat policing. For at least 12 months, each officer is assigned to one of 16 sections of the city to patrol.

They’re meeting residents making sure people know their local cops as people too.

“They’re knowing individual officers’ names and putting a face with those names that are responsible for any type of patrol response in their community,” said Williams.

Williams says they’re not stopping there. They now have a community resource officer who will only be in charge of community outreach.

Residents will also soon be able to have direct contact with their district’s officers. An online map will directly connect people to those patrolling their district to report problems, give tips or just say hello.

“We wanted to make sure that any member of the community has immediate access to law enforcement resources and not just by calling a number,” said Williams.

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