Walk, Knock and Talk program helps police get citizens' input
by W. Brian Hale
Sep 02, 2010 | 1638 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police Chief Nick Smith
Police Chief Nick Smith
PARRISH -- The Parrish Police Department is interested in what is on its citizens' minds.

The department recently asked Parrish residents to identify the central problems in the community. It also asked them if they thought the city's police department is doing a good job.

To help answer the questions being posed, Parrish police chief Nick Smith initiated the Walk, Knock and Talk program to find out what areas they needed to work on and how they were doing. With the results of more than 150 completed surveys, the answers Smith and his force are seeking are slowly coming to light.

"We initiated it to get officers out in the community, talk to citizens one on one, find out how they think we're doing and what kind of issues we need to be working on," Smith said. "I thought it would help us to bond the relationship between the citizens and our police force. It's a way for us of to be aware of a problem so we can take care of it."

Smith said early results have been interesting.

"So far I think its gone real well," he said. "We've located some key issues that we need to address and have a good overall grasp of how the public feels we are handling our duties."

Smith said when officers begin their shift, they go to several residences to speak with citizens and ask them to fill out the forms. Questions on the form include what the biggest problems in the community are, how they rate the department's response time to emergency calls, if they feel Parrish is a safe community and if they agree with the publishing of drug arrests in the local media outlets.

"Our results have told us that our citizens still feel drugs are our No. 1 problem," Smith said. "We've had a number of people also tell us dogs not on a leash, thefts, speeders and noise are complaints that we need to work on. We found that 86 percent of people agree with publishing drug arrests and that 87 percent of our citizens feel safe in our community."

According to Smith, 87 percent of people surveyed were happy with the response time of the police department and 77 percent rated the department's performance as "very good".

Smith indicated that his department plans on running the Walk, Knock and Talk program annually, so that they can continue to keep an accurate check on key issue's and the public's evaluation of how they're doing.

"We know we're not going to please everyone all of the time," Smith said. "Our main goal here in the Parrish Police Department is to protect and serve our citizens and to try to ensure that they live safe, happy lives. Now in the process, we may not make some people happy. It's part of our business. But we would like to make the community as happy as possible while doing our duty as well."

Any Parrish citizens who have not received a visit from an officer and wish to participate in the program can call stop by Parrish Town Hall or call 686-9991 to obtain an application.