Neighborhood Officer Program making progress

Posted at 11:46 PM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 23:46:54-04

Less crime this summer and more trust in police. That's what a new Neighborhood Officer Program in the Heart of Boynton Beach is aiming for. 

It's now been three months since the program launched. 

Sergeant Henry Diehl and Officer Terrence Paramore have ditched the patrol cars, put on helmets and hopped on segways. They are making it a priority to be more approachable. 

"They see you more as a person a human being rather than just some robocop or somebody that they’re afraid of," said Officer Paramore. 

Interacting with teens is at the top of the list. Officers say they've received a lot of of loitering complaint near Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Seacrest Blvd. 

"They have said that the main problem is juveniles, they’ d like to see a community watch," said Sgt. Diehl. 

The officers are spreading the word about the next community meeting on May 19th. The program's goal is to build relationships with the community; to deter theft and property crime.

 “I think sometimes with younger people, the visibility even if an officer just walking, sometimes it makes a big difference," said a local mother who wants to go by Wanda. 

Wanda still thinks it's going to take time to develop trust and change negative perceptions. 

"You stand here talking to a police officer, first thing they go 'oh you telling this, that, the other," added Wanda. 

Most of the parents in the community hope the program will stick and bring positive change. 

Residents in the Heart of Boynton are encouraged to attend the next community meeting at the Carolyn Sims Center on May 19th at 6:30 p.m.