The Livermore Police Department has switched to an area policing policy, dividing the city into three geographic areas, each with its own policing team.
Called Area Command service delivery, the new command sectors are Northeast, Northwest and South.
Within each Area Command, specific neighborhoods have been identified. A police lieutenant has been assigned to each of the three areas as an Area Commander. Officers have been assigned to each command and will be "adopting" one of the neighborhoods within their sector.
By adopting a specific neighborhood, officers will be able to establish relationships with the residents they serve and work in partnership to improve the overall quality of life in each neighborhood, according to Livermore Police Chief Michael Harris.
Benefits of the new service delivery model, Harris said, include:
Increased police/citizen engagement and a strengthening of relationships with the community.
Increased autonomy and professional responsibility for staff.
Increased accountability for management.
Improved quality of life for residents.
"At its core, policing is about community service and fostering a feeling of safety and security in a community, Harris said. "We want to engage with the people in a meaningful way and establish relationships, rather than allowing the gap between officers and the people we serve to widen. This model will provide an opportunity for us to get to know those we serve and for them to get to know us, and that is community policing."
The Area Policing model is not a new concept, according to a Livermore police spokesman. Across the country, agencies that have adopted this model typically divide their cities into distinct geographic areas that are larger than the traditional police beat areas. Patrol personnel are then assigned to one of the geographic area known as "Area Commands" for an extended period of time so that they can build longer lasting and more effective relationships with the community and respond proactively to the unique issues within each area.
The system also requires the alignment of organizational management, structure, personnel, and information systems to support community partnerships and proactive problem solving.
Even so, Area Command structure do not substitute for dialing 911 in an emergency. The closest available officers still respond to emergency calls for service.
The new Area commanders are Lieutenant Erin Cole, Northwest; Lieutenant Joe Draghi, Northeast, and Lieutenant Michael Trudeau, South. Lieutenant John Hurd has been named commander of the Downtown and Special Events Area.
More information about the three Area Commands can be found at www.cityoflivermore.net/citygov/police/area_command/default.asp/