Airmen 1st Class Jessica Herb, 49th Security Forces Squadron, community police officer, uses the radar gun in the school zone April 13. The community police are showing the community they are here to help, not to just hand out tickets and arrest people. Their goal is to show a positive involvement with the community and to also build trust in the housing areas. According to Bruce Roberts, 49th SFS community police officer, when the community feels they can trust the police, they are more likely to want to help the police. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airmen 1st Class Colin Cates / Released)
Grassroots enforcement key to cooperation
Airman 1st Class Colin Cates
49th Wing Public Affairs
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE. — The 49th Security Forces Squadron has established a community police program here with Soaring Heights Communities, Holloman’s base housing.
“The concept of the program is grass roots law enforcement, a unit that is imbedded within the community,” said Maj. David Boyd, 49th SFS commander. “This program creates a proactive instead of a reactive presence.”
For a program like this to work the 49th SFS must have a complete partnership with the community, and most importantly with Soaring Heights, said Boyd.
“The community police want to show the community we are here to help, not to just hand out tickets and arrest people,” said Bruce Roberts, 49th SFS community police officer. “As police, our goal is to show a positive involvement with the community and to also build trust. When the community feels they can trust the police, they are more likely to want to help the police.”
The goal is to reduce crime, no matter how minor the offense might be, said Boyd.
For example, there was graffiti at the middle school and the community police were able to coordinate with the school to quickly find the offenders and paint over the graffiti.
“With this cooperation in place, the success in solving issues in the community, like the graffiti incident, can be solved quickly and without much resistance,” said Roberts.
The program has been active for nine months and the response of the community is positive and seen as the answer to some of the problems in base housing.
“The other piece to this program is community outreach and our partnership with Soaring Heights,” said Boyd.
Anytime Soaring Heights holds an event, the community police are in attendance to show support and help the event, said Boyd.
One event which Soaring Heights and the community police worked together on was a program called Kid ID. Children ages 10 and under were finger printed, had a photo taken and were given an ID. This program is tied directly to the Amber Alert system, which enhances the safety of the Holloman community.
“We are committed to engaging with the community to develop a more proactive approach to their own security and safety,” said Boyd.
The community police and Soaring Heights are also working together on a program called F.A.S.T. which stands for Fear Adrenaline Stress Training. This free three- hour- long self-defense program is tailored to women and young children. These classes are designed to prevent violence by providing potential victims with the tools to protect themselves.
One participant, Cheryl Turri, assistant property manager with Soaring Heights Communities, said she was impressed by the information presented in the class.
“My adrenaline was really going and I really did not know what to expect,” said Turri. “The idea behind the class is to be put in situations that you react to quickly and to teach you to use that adrenaline in a productive way.”
Classes are offered monthly, and attendance has been consistent, said Roberts. Other outreach programs have enjoyed similar success.
Soaring Heights is committed to helping the community police program anyway they can.
“The community police have a house on base that is provided by Soaring Heights for residents to come to for help,” said Boyd.
People are using this resource for a variety of needs, from bike safety to proper installation of a child car seat.
“This same community police program that is used here was a program I saw being used at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.,” said Boyd. “This program has been in existence for three years now and has reduced crime by almost 50 percent and speeding by 50 percent and I foresee Holloman AFB having similar success with the community police program.”