Many Fort Worth residents are singing the praises of a more than 20-year-old program in the police department.
They say the Neighborhood Police Officer program is making a major difference in fighting community crime.
“Each beat has an officer who is the liaison with the police department,” Sgt. Brent Halford explained. “[Citizens] have their phone number and some social media. It's just one face they can go to with any police problem the neighborhood has.”
Halford and Officer Sergio Guadarrama are the NPOs for the Fairmount / Ryan Place communities.
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“We know the first name of the manager at each business,” Halford said. “When you have a relationship like that, with everybody in your neighborhood, whenever something is amiss they are not afraid to call they know who to call.
An example of that partnership came earlier this month when there was a rash of car burglaries.
“As soon as it started happening, even before the reports start rolling in, we could see on social media and people talking about it,” Halford said. “We are already aware of it and have an idea who the suspects are.”
Equipped with the information from the residents officers were able to have a multi-day stakeout.
“We were able to retrieve some stolen property from this person and reuniting [residents]with the property,” Guadarrama said.
The officers found thousands of dollars of stolen goods ranging from laptops and electronics such as iPads and iPhones.
“They were very thankful. They had written it off [and] thought they would never see the stuff again,” Guadarrama said. “When I got the phone call saying ‘hey we got your stuff.’ They were very pleased.”
NPOs say they handle everything from code issues and animal calls to property crime and violent crime.
“We've never been able to do it all on our own. We have to have cooperation, communication and coordination with the people in the neighborhood,” Guadarrama said.