GREENSBORO, N.C. — Looking beyond the badge. Greensboro police officers are making it their goal to ensure the community sees them as people first.
Wednesday, officers visited local neighborhoods to not only introduce themselves to community members but to build relationships with them.
All of this during a time where encounters with police and citizens are being spotlighted across the country.
GPD officers went door to door in a neighborhood near West Gate City Boulevard Wednesday. It’s an area that had targeted crimes recently.
“We’ll go out and talk to them about crime prevention tips,” said Lt. Alexander Ricketts, a GPD patrol officer.
Their goal is not only to go to neighborhoods that have seen recent crime, but to also make their way to places they normally don’t get called to. Making it a point to connect with kids so that way their first encounter isn’t a negative one.
All of this with one common goal.
“When they see us, they just see us with a badge. People need to know that at the end of the day, we’re just like them. We like to laugh; we like to talk,” said K.M. Nutter, a GPD patrol officer. “A lot of us, we do this job just to make a difference and that’s why I’m here.”
Over the past few months of doing this type of community outreach, it has taught officers a few things too.
“There was an 87-year-old lady who stayed by herself, she was so happy to see us. She was like, ‘don’t forget I’m here.’ We didn’t know that prior to that. She doesn’t call — she’s afraid to call. So, we go by and see her and she was happy to see us. So, things like that you don’t know,” Ricketts said.
For a city that saw more than 60 homicides last year — most involving young people, it’s a number they’re working to cut down this year.
“It disappoints me on the homicides. Of course, when anyone dies we’re disappointed,” Ricketts said.
With programs like this one and strengthened relationships that could help them solve crimes, they hope to start seeing a positive difference in their community over time.
“Crime will go down, people will be more comfortable, and the things that you see going on in other cities won’t happen here because we have a relationship that we’ve built over years of time,” Ricketts said.
This community outreach initiative is taking place all across the city.
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