I talk a lot about how we practice community policing here in Gulfport. When I was appointed as chief, I made it clear that my department would police how our residents wanted us to police. Next month marks my five year anniversary in this position, and I think (I hope you think, at least) that I have been doing a pretty good job. I get out in the community and talk with people every day I am at work; I participate in quite a few community events; I volunteer for local service groups; and I generally feel that I have a good handle on the issues that are important to the people in this town.
That said, I think there is room for improvement. I want to open the door for even better communication. For quite some time now, I have been hosting a lunch with each of my first line supervisors. The idea is to give them each a regular forum where they can share ideas and concerns with me directly. This concept has proven to be very valuable in ensuring buy-in and commitment to our policing philosophy.
Starting next week, I’m going to apply a similar idea to communicating with the public. I’ll call it the chief’s chat, and my plan is to host a quarterly (or more frequent depending on the need) open table where folks can come in, sit down, and simply talk about whatever’s on their mind. If you want to chat about the crime trends in your neighborhood, or if you want to talk about the weather, I’ll be all ears.
The first chief’s chat will be on Sunday, February 1st at 9:00 at the McDonald’s located at 51st Street and Gulfport Blvd. I’ll show up a bit early, grab a cup of coffee, and reserve a few tables in the back. Anybody is welcome to come and share, and I will be there as long as it takes to hear what you have to say.
See you at the chief’s chat.