The mission of every police department is to keep the public safe. This is a mission the Pocatello Police Department wants to achieve, and now, they have a new way of reaching that goal.
Recently, their department started a new unit, the street crimes unit. This group’s goal is two-fold. First, they want to stop street-level threats, such as gang violence, human trafficking and other crimes. Second, they want to help mitigate the situation before something like that can happen.
In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Sergeant Brian McClure, the supervisor for the unit, said the group will now have an easier time communicating with the public as people, rather than as an agency.
“The police departments very rarely have a great deal of time to actually make the community relationships or the bonds. This unit will allow us to do that,” he said.
McClure said the department likes to look at hard numbers and statistics, but he points out that that isn’t what the community appreciates.
“We look at numbers. How many calls we get, how many calls we respond to, what those types of calls are. The community looks at things differently by asking, ‘How are those numbers affecting me, my family, my business my neighborhood?’” he said.
McClure said the unit works to build the trust of the community. If the public can trust the police department, then they’re more likely to let the authorities know about what’s troubling them or the rest of the community.
“The communication alone is worth its weight in gold, just so that there’s a way for the community to communicate with the police department at all levels,” said McClure.
The sergeant said that what he felt was the most important thing about this unit was this open line of communication.
“An organization or a unit like this is very important to any law enforcement agency because it allows the open communication first and foremost,” said McClure.
McClure wants to let the public know that they shouldn’t be afraid to tell them of nearby trouble.
“If they see something in their neighborhood, it doesn’t matter if it’s a place with broken windows, or lights that are out, or gang graffiti, or suspicious vehicles or people. They shouldn’t be afraid to contact us,” he said.
Ultimately, the police department hopes this new unit will help the city see a reduction in street-level crimes.