GALAX, Va. (WDBJ7) Police departments in our area are working to improve their relationship with the community.
Radford University criminal justice professors and students are helping them achieve that goal and help reduce crime in the process.
The Galax Police Chief doesn't shy away from an issues facing all police agencies.
"Inadvertently we may have isolated ourselves away from the communities and this is a way to move back to the communities," said Chief Rick Clark.
His department is making a conscious effort to create an even better connection with the city.
Friday he called on help from Radford University to learn best practices in the field.
"Police answer calls for service and investigate crime but to be more proactive," said Rachel Santos, Radford University Criminal Justice professor. "To go out and identify problems, identify repeat locations, problem areas, and do the things that work in those areas because we know from research what does work, what doesn't work, and how we should do that."
Rachel and Roberto Santos, Criminal Justice husband and wife professors from Radford, are working with departments to give them a new and different prospective. Training sessions and technical help focuses on ways to help build better trust in the community and reduce crime.
"Just saying hey go out there and reduce crime, we need to be systematic about doing that if you can be consistent, systematic, you're being more successful," Rachel Santos said.
Galax teamed with Radford, Wytheville, and Pulaski police to bring this training to their officers. The professors plan to share the training with as many Southwest Virginia law enforcement agencies as possible.
"It's going to give us continuity to our operations. I hope that we've established a reputation as being involved with our communities and this is just another tool in our tool chest to do a better job," Clark said.