Friday, August 10, 2007

Captain Dillon Replaced for Speaking His Mind

I sure fell asleep on this one! Almost two weeks ago, Captain Dillon of Northern Station was moved to another assignment as the result of his outspoken disagreement with City Hall directives. Maybe they were right to re-assign Captain Dillon, but we need a lot more information to make that call.

Captain Dillon has been outspoken about his displeasure with being told by City Hall to increase foot patrols and to keep a 24-hour detail at the project on Eddy and Laguna that recently experienced several shootings. (see my notes from last month's Northern Station Community Meeting

Dillon's concern was that foot patrols and the round the clock detail provide a visible response to citizen concerns, and are thus politically desirable, but they are not ultimately very effective. Further, these measures represent an inefficient use of limited police resources.

Shootings at the housing project at Eddy and Laguna continued after the 24-hour detail had been in place. Six additional victims were shot in two separate gun incidents. Both incidents occurred within a block of the patrol.

Other officers can confirm that police presence alone does not deter crime. An undercover cop had repeated success purchasing drugs from dealers within 20 feet of uniformed officers.

The point is that police presence not only does not prevent all crimes from happening, it often moves crime to other locations.

Staffing the 24-hour detail at the project required the services of 16 full-time officers. This left 2 patrol cars available in the Northern District to respond to calls.

Captain Dillon's beef seems to be that City Hall is mandating specific police activities as a quick fix to popular outcry with insufficient understanding of the underlying complexities.

I would like to understand more about the City Hall side of things. I, too, like the idea of street patrols. It is reassuring to get to know the officers and feel that you have someone who will listen and act if there is a problem. Yet, if in the bigger picture the foot patrols are not the most effective way to reduce and respond to crime, then I would gladly support another strategy.

If you know how we can learn more about the effectiveness of foot patrols, let me know.

No comments: