Danville Police restructure focuses on community policing

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 4:44 PM EST
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ/Danville PD Release) - The Danville Police Department has restructured its Patrol Bureau as part of what is says is a continued focus on community policing.

The department began planning six months ago to implement Neighborhood Oriented Policing. The strategy of Neighborhood Oriented Policing (NOP), according to the department, is not new to law enforcement, but is new to Danville.

The philosophy has four key elements:

• Geographic responsibility: the idea that a group of officers should take responsibility for meeting as many of the needs of a particular area as possible and facilitate communication between officers and the community they serve.

• Problem-solving: early identification and analysis of problems allows police to develop “tailor made” solutions to their specific community

• Community consultation: police obtain the community’s views and work together to prevent crime

• Decentralized command and consumerism: decentralization of command gives the quarter lieutenant operational decision-making authority wherever possible; consumerism is the idea that citizens deserve high quality police services.

“Neighborhood Oriented Policing is the next step for the Danville Police Department in continuing to build trust and legitimacy within our community,” said Chief Scott Booth. “With NOP, we will expand on the crime reduction and community engagement strategies that have worked in our city, but also focus more on specific neighborhood problems and solutions. That’s what Neighborhood Oriented Policing is all about — working collaboratively with the community to solve problems.”

Chief Booth established the role of area commanders in 2019. He assigned two captains geographic areas of responsibility — one to the north and one to the south area city. The department has further divided those areas into quarters (see map) designated by their directional location: Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest.

As part of the restructuring, a lieutenant is assigned responsibility for each quarter and leads a team of supporting supervisors and officers who are assigned to that specific quarter. That presents a change from the previous structure, in which a lieutenant led a platoon of officers who were assigned responsibility for the entire city for the duration of a particular shift.

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