To meet the needs of the community, the Pearland Police Department formed the Community Outreach Division. The group, which includes four fulltime officers, has several initiatives to be launched in 2017.
THRIVE is a first for Pearland. The proactive initiative includes quarterly meetings with the Police Department and faith-based groups and organizations to develop the collaboration to create a mechanism for community problem-solving. The program’s goal for both groups is to strengthen communication and trust with the whole community.
Youth Leadership Academy is also a new initiative and involves an eight-week program for students in tenth through twelfth grades. The program’s aim is to assist the teens in developing leadership skills.
Another initiative that is currently being developed is Safetytown. The Police Department is working with Fire, Parks and Recreation and Public Works Departments to create a week-long camp for children ages 5-10. The program will teach safety while playing, biking, and walking as well as personal safety issues and stranger danger information.
The Apartment Manager’s Meetings, another initiative for the division, was re-launched this year to serve all area apartment managers with a quarterly information exchange forum. At the meeting they get opportunities to discuss safety and security issues.
Senior Citizen Outreach program is a current initiative that will remain in place in 2017. The program is designed for Police officers to partner with administrators from both senior citizen facilities and assisted living programs in the city to develop relationships and share information on crime prevention that will interest both the employees and residents.
The quarterly meetings with the administrators aid in communication. This year the Outreach Division is including monthly chats and coffee with residents.
One initiative that has been in practice for 22 years comes under the Community Outreach area and it is the successful Citizens Police Academy. Two classes a year are formed to give residents opportunities to learn all about law enforcement. A new class was formed recently.
The Law Enforcement Explorer Program 237 is for teenagers ages 14-19 to help them develop leadership skills through team-building activities. They also receive law enforcement training to assist them. The program number 237 was given to the group in memory of fallen Pearland officer Endy Ekpanya.
All activities of the division work to serve the community and follow the division philosophy of community policing.
The Community Outreach Division is under the command of Lieutenant Onesimo Lopez. The four assigned to the division include Police Officers Z. Davis, J. Wells, J. Evans, and R. Cohen.
Story by Karolyn Gephart