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The Daytona Beach Police Department is implementing a new “Park, Walk and Talk” program to forge a tighter bond between officers and the community. Starting this month, all patrol officers are required to park their vehicles in their assigned zone, walk the streets and talk to people living or working in the neighborhood for at least 30 minutes every shift.
Leading up to this implementation, several officers, including Chief Jakari Young, have done trial runs of the program in the Midtown area, which was selected as the first location for the program after several shootings in November. Based on the initial results, Chief Young decided to expand the program in January to all of the 16 patrol zones.
The goal of the program is to encourage police officers to develop relationships with those who live or work in the patrol area, and give those people an officer they can rely on to handle any suspicious activity. Chief Young also feels that the program 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.
“It’s all about community engagement. The ultimate goal is for people to understand that we’re part of the community. They don’t just need us when something happens. They need to see us when there is absolutely nothing going on,” said Chief Young.