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The Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) enters the New Year by implementing a new program that seeks to forge a tighter bond between the police department and the Daytona Beach community.
Starting this month (January 2021), all DBPD patrol officers will be required to “Park, Walk & Talk” (PWT) for at least 30 minutes every shift.
“Park, Walk & Talk” will have officers do the following:
Several officers – including DBPD Chief Jakari Young – have conducted trial runs of PWT in the Midtown area since he took over for former chief Craig Capri last November. Based off those initial results, Chief Young believes it’s time to expand PWT into every one of DBPD’s 16 patrol zones right away.
“It’s all about community engagement,” Young said. “Just being out here so that the residents know who we are and we know who they are.”
Midtown was selected as the first location for PWT based off a series of shootings in that area last November which left four people dead. Since then, DBPD has developed suspects in three of those murders, two of which have been arrested (Arrington Turner and Jermaine Jackson). The third (James Williams, Jr.) remains at large.
Chief Young hopes PWT will encourage DBPD officers to develop relationships with those who live or work in their patrol area and give those people an officer they can rely on to handle any suspicious activity in that area.
“When something does occur or they don’t feel comfortable about a situation, there’s no hesitation about calling us because it all centers around trust,” Young added. “They have to trust us in order for them to call us.”
Chief Young also feels PWT will show the “human” side of police work by creating an environment where officers can focus on the concerns of residents and business owners, even if it’s not police related.
“The ultimate goal is for them to understand that we’re a part of the community,” Young stated. “They don’t just need to see us when something happens. They need to see us when there’s absolutely nothing going on.”
Officers will be required to log every PWT shift with dispatch and have it cleared by their supervisors. Shifts will be staggered to ensure that DBPD has enough available officers to respond to emergencies as needed.
Officers will also discuss what they discover during PWT with their supervisors, helping to create and adjust plans for fixing neighborhood problems as they come up.
PWT isn’t expected to create additional financial strain for the department, though Chief Young does hope to hire additional officers so that PWT can be done more consistently without causing a strain on patrol coverage.