Moncks Corner Community Outreach Program
Law enforcement officers in the Town of Moncks Corner were noticing a troubling theme: Residents felt disconnected from the officers who were sworn to serve them. There was tension between officers and the community due to the stressful nature of officers responding to calls for help.
So the department launched an outreach program that emphasized face-to-face engagement in a world that’s increasingly technology driven. Every month, volunteer officers from throughout the department set up a grill and cook hamburgers and hot dogs for the residents of a selected community. An important but subtle feature: Residents were treated as guests.
Instead of a special unit for community policing, the department instilled the philosophy that every officer is part of the ongoing community oriented policing effort. The department aims to make the community stronger and more open by bringing together people from all walks of life to have their voices heard.
The benefits are clear. Officers have become engaged in neighborhoods, and after events, residents have even asked them when they will come back. Meanwhile, since the outreach program began in early 2016, neighborhoods have experienced a decrease in calls for service.
There’s more to come. The department is planning further outreach — Neighborhood bicycle rodeos, a town carnival and other activities to welcome residents. The effort will also include other departments, such the recreation department for its many programs and the fire department for safety information and smoke detector installation in the homes, to show residents what resources are available.
The department is also working with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to put computers in a community center, so that residents can take online courses and prepare to take the GED. By building relationships before there are problems, the Moncks Corner Police Department is preparing to deal with any crisis before it occurs.