Protect and serve. That’s what officers of the law strive to do each day. However, in a city as vast as Houston, some trouble spots appear to fall by the wayside. Since 1982, however, the Houston Police Department has strived to create an avenue of communication which attempts to bridge that gap, and are urging more citizens to get involved.
From this idea, came the concept of the Positive Interaction Program, or “PIP.” A police agency can be very confusing to many citizens, from its operations to how to report a crime. In efforts to increase citizens’ knowledge, the Positive Interaction Program features speakers from different divisions each month explaining how their division operates. Additionally, citizens are given crime statistics at the end of each meeting which feature seven categories of crimes listed, each including the date, time, block address, and type of location where the crime occurred.
“This is a dialogue and communication we’ve maintained with the people to let us know what’s going on in their neighborhoods and their communities so we can address any issues and concerns they may have,” said Sgt. Frank Escobedo with HPD’s North Patrol.
HPD’s North Patrol’s meetings consist of the North Division Community PIP and Apartment Manager’s and Business Community PIP at the HPD Command Station at 9455 W. Montgomery as well as one at the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center for residents of the Leader area and surrounding communities to voice their concerns. However, it’s more than just a venting session.
Following the initial open floor forum, which allows residents to establish a one-on-one connection with those officers who patrol their streets, a second informal meeting occurs during which residents can bounce ideas off other citizens in attendance in efforts to get the ball rolling on solutions to neighborhood issues.
“We want them to get involved with things like that to not only help themselves, but help the department,” Escobedo said.
Escobedo believes the free flow of information and ideas fosters trust and friendship between citizens and the police department that serves them.
“The community is the eyes and ears of the police department. because who knows their neighborhoods and communities better than the residents who live down there,” he said. “We rely on the information people give us, and it gives us that lead to follow in the event there is something occurring in their neighborhoods that we really need to come out and take a look at. It’s important that they come in and at least tell us that they feel there’s something out there.”
For information on the Positive Interaction Program, how to get involved or find out the closest meeting, visit houstontx.gov/police/pip/ and click under the “Divisional PIP Meeting Locations” link or call 281-405-5341