San Diego police officers parked their cruisers and put their boots on the ground Wednesday night in Mira Mesa, all in an effort to reengage with neighborhood residents.
“The goal is to reach out to them then basically see what their needs are,“ Multicultural Community Relations Sergeant Lem Sainsanoy said.
Although there wasn't any time off from duties, coronavirus pandemic shutdowns left some San Diego residents and businesses feeling a little distant from their police department.
Mira Mesa Stories
Members of the SDPD command staff, including Chief Dave Nisleit, joined the so-called safety walk, too.
“Now that we are outside of COVID, people are feeling more comfortable. This is our opportunity to get out and start reengaging with our community one-on-one,” Chief Nisleit said.
It was a chance for officers to reconnect and reassure the community they serve, District 6 City Councilmember Chris Cate said.
“We want to make sure that we are hiring officers, recruiting to retain officers and doing everything we can to maintain a community-oriented policing department," Councilman Cate said.
Sgt. Sainsanoy spread good cheer, and also handed out business cards with QR codes that connect people to the SDPD website. The safety walk initiative is also promoting the use of online crime reporting.
“Anybody can navigate it, whether it’s getting resources, filing a report online or just getting up to speed on trends in the city," Sgt. Sainsanoy said.
Some crimes go unreported when there is no suspect information, injuries reported or leads in the case, according to Sainsanoy. But for insurance purposes, a police report is necessary. It also alerts police to chronic problems.
“It was really good. I just like feeling so safe. I am so happy they are out now,” business owner Parveen Singh said.
Officers also handed out mental evaluation checklists that include 15 things police say citizens should know if they're calling police about a disturbance involving a family member or someone with mental or emotional disorders. Knowing the answers could be the difference between a police response appropriate for the situation and a more tragic outcome, according to police.
The checklist can be found here.
The next two safety walks will take place in Hillcrest and the Gaslamp District later this month.