04/20/17 — Community policing now part of career advancement

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Community policing now part of career advancement

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on April 20, 2017 6:04 AM

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K-9 officer Jason Erkes rakes the yard at 1513 Rose St. He and his fellow GPD officers are out in the community visiting and helping as opposed to learning about community out reach from a classroom.

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Capt. LeAnn Rabun speaks with home owner Margery Mills before she and her officers begin their clean-up.

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Capt. LeAnn Rabun, right, briefs her crew of Goldsboro police officers on the morning clean up project that they will conduct at various homes in the area. The dual purpose of the clean-up project is community beautification as well as to foster improved community relations with the police department.

Officers with the Goldsboro Police Department cleaned up yards and delivered Meals on Wheels Monday as part of the department's first-ever community policing class.

The ideas to clean up yards around the community and deliver Meals on Wheels came from officers participating in the course, said instructor Capt. LeAnn Rabun.

Officers from all four patrol shifts, the Crime Prevention Unit and Investigations Division participated in the class.

Rabun said the late Maj. Jay Memmelaar and current Police Chief Mike West were pushing for the idea to come to fruition before Memmelaar's untimely death.

"Maj. Memmelaar was pushing alongside the chief to do an in-house community policing class to get officers more comfortable with it and get them out in the community," Rabun said.

After officers do a hands-on community policing project, they then go to class and learn about the history and purpose of community policing.

"The class itself gets into explaining community policing is not new and it's not a fad," Rabun said. "We have been doing it and it seems to be in the spotlight nowadays."

In the classroom Monday, officers discussed what they felt community policing was and what the challenges and benefits to it are, Rabun said.

The class allows officers to achieve a higher classification -- being Officer 1, Officer 2 and Master Officer -- but does not mean they move up in rank.

On Monday, officers landscaped lawns at 1512 and 1513 Rose St., 109 Quail Drive, 200 Shaw Court and 903 E. Elm St.

They then delivered Meals on Wheels to those same addresses, as well as to the Elmwood Housing Development, Waynesborough House and several homes on the north end of the city.

In all, officers delivered Meals on Wheels to about 20 people.

Rabun said the class lasts three weeks, and what comes next is a group project the 12 officers participating will do in three small groups.

The officers in those groups will then present their group project at Wayne Community College.

After that, they will take a test and achieve a higher class of officer.

Rabun said nearly all of the officers taking part in the class are veterans of the department, with a two being new.

Overall, the class is designed to enhance aspects of community policing the department is already doing and teach officers new ways to connect with the community.

"We talk a lot about community partnerships and what we can do to build stronger and better community relationships," Rabun said.