Chief: Police on bay helps build relationships
Recently, I have requested that the Harbor Management Commission fund a program, which would allow for a police officer to patrol the Jamestown waters along with the harbormasters on a very limited basis. This has sparked conversation within the community, which I would like to address.
Since I began here in Jamestown as police chief in September, the most common comment that I receive from community members is, “The police seem disconnected.” To a certain degree,
I do agree with this assessment. This program is one of several which are being proposed in order to address this concern.
Recently, I met with a business owner and he summarized his view of the police as follows: “If the police are around, there must be a problem.”
This is not what policing is supposed to be in today’s society. Police officers are expected to be part of our community on a daily basis whether it is in a patrol car, patrolling on foot, on a bicycle or even by boat. This builds relationships and trust within the community between its citizens and the police officers.
The fact is Jamestown is a large boating community with more than 1,000 vessels docked and moored in our waters. This program is about creating an avenue for police officers to connect with that community as partners well in advance of “problems.” Our harbormasters do an outstanding job enforcing the ordinances related to harbor management but do have limited authority when it comes to enforcing the state laws such as alcohol-related issues. While I do expect a degree of enforcement to be included in this program, this is more about commu- nity outreach and building partnerships.
This program is very limited with the officers working an average of four hours per week along with the harbormasters. This is the ideal season for this program as we anticipate two major events having a tremendous positive impact on our community and waters.
I appreciate the support of the Harbor Management Commission in funding this program and we will work together to assess its effectiveness.
Edward A. Mello
Chief of Police
Jamestown Police Department