East Palo Alto police connect with residents at beat meetings

 

Two years ago, when Albert Pardini became East Palo Alto’s police chief, he pushed his force to interact more with residents, boosting what is known nationally as community policing.

With violent crime rates falling in the city, the police department can now rely less on online reporting of minor incidents and instead send officers to handle them in person. Residents can also get to know officers at monthly meetings.

The city’s violent crime rate fell dramatically in 2014, and in 2015, it remained nearly 50 percent lower than it was just two years earlier, according to FBI statistics. The police department’s records for the first nine months of 2016 show further decreases in homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

East Palo Alto consists of four beats, and the department holds meetings in each. The casual gatherings give residents a chance to ask questions, raise concerns and build relationships with officers who patrol their neighborhood.