Community service

Savannah Police Community Service Officer Program Positively Impacting Department

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – A year ago this month, Savannah police launched a revamped version of its community service officer program, putting unsworn SPD personnel on the streets to deal with non-emergency calls.

It is a program that has been successful over the past year, according to the ministry. There is a Community Services Officer assigned to each police station in Savannah, plus an additional officer, who helps connect the police department to the community in several ways.

One of the benefits of the SPD Community Service Officer program is that it helps free up officers who have to respond to more urgent or emergency calls by handling non-emergency calls.

“Officers, they have to respond to really serious situations sometimes,” said Modjeska Pleasant-Murray, SPD community services officer.

This is particularly important for a department that is looking to fill 60 vacant positions. These non-emergency, often time-consuming calls can range from a report of property theft around someone’s home to a shoplifting call.

“It can be as short as 15 minutes, to an hour and a half, depending on whether someone is prepared with their information or if someone is just calling the police in a reactionary way.”

Another benefit of the program is that it establishes a familiar bond between the department and the community.

“It’s easier to get the information, to get the evidence, because they know me. They feel comfortable handing me stuff, and I’m like the middle person, putting it with a specific officer, or a sergeant, or a detective if need be,” said Nayirah Williams, Community Services Officer of the SPD.

Officer Williams says she often sees situations resolved, like missing persons cases or saving someone from being scammed, and the gratitude that follows.

“It’s just the thank you, it’s the most gratifying, when they tell you they’re glad you came, glad you were able to help them and reassure them,” Williams said.

The ministry says the program has been a success over the past year and is now looking to expand it.

Copyright 2021 COMC. All rights reserved.