FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Fort Valley Police Department is putting a new initiative, called the Front Porch Roll Call, to the test with hopes of building better relationships between its officers and the community.
Public Safety Director Lawrence Spurgeon says he needed a way to connect with Fort Valley residents. “You know there’s been a disconnect between the citizens and law enforcement, and we just really look for ways to kind of get reconnected in Fort Valley,” he said.
Around August 2015, Spurgeon got the answer he was looking for by web surfing Fort Pierce, Florida’s Police Department.
What he found opened his eyes.
“It’s called Front Porch Roll Call, and I was interested in it. I read the media release they had put out about it, and I actually contacted the police department,” said Spurgeon.
The program includes weekly neighborhood meetings and gives officers is an opportunity to build relationships, make changes, and develop trust within the local community by simply having an open conversation.
Spurgeon added, “I just was like wow, that’s something that’s easily implemented. It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s something that I think would be beneficial.”
The Everett Square neighborhood in Fort Valley will be the first neighborhood in the city to launch the Front Porch Roll Call.
Richard Adamson says not much crime happens in his area, but it is a chance to meet law enforcement officers. “I just heard a little bit about this Front Porch initiative from the chief, and we’ll get behind him and support him all the way,” Adamson says, “Anytime that we can all get together to support the safety of this town, we’re all for that.” Adamson then offered to host meetings at his own home.
Spurgeon says he needs that type of support. “It’ll give other people a chance to see police cars in their area, and maybe ask questions, and stop by officers and say, ‘hey, what are you guys doing over here? What’s going on?’ And invite us to their homes,” added Spurgeon.
The Front Porch Roll call aims to give a new meaning to your average neighborhood watch. He says, “I’m just hoping it will generate some goodwill, and generate some more information for us to be able to better serve our citizens and our community.”
The first Front Porch Roll Call is in the Everett Square neighborhood on Tuesday, February 9th.
Contact the Fort Valley Police Department at (478) 825-3384, if you would like to schedule a Front Porch Roll Call at your home or business.