Leaders of the El Monte, Ca., Police Department say that community policing initiative started in 2002 has been successful. The Los Angeles Times says that residents praise quicker police response to nonemergency situations. “The streets feel safer, and people take a little more pride in their community,” said April Montoya.
The Times says that many non-English-speaking residents are not aware of the program. The town’s population is mostly Latino and Asian American; many residents have limited English skills.
The city of 116,000 is split into 65 areas called reporting districts. At least one officer is assigned to each tract, which consists of about five blocks. The program is known as IMPACT (Improving and Maintaining Public Awareness and Community Teamwork). From March to October 2003, officers made 16,000 contacts. Officers are required to fill out monthly logs that include numbers of calls for service in their districts, whether they’ve held a community meeting, and lists of long- and short-term projects.
Assistant Chief Tom Armstrong said it was too soon to tell whether IMPACT has had an impact on crime. Through November, major crimes had risen by 3 percent from 2002. Officers have “just gotten their foot in the door,” he said.