A Block" ... an adjunct to Community Policing and the Ideal
The "Adopt A Block"
program is simplicity itself. Its principal tools, a pamphlet stuffed
with a few flyers, cost next to nothing to create, and the flyers
used can be updated at each Deployment Period (DP) with the latest
information the Division wants to get out.
Implementing "Adopt A Block" will immediately start to bridge the
gap which currently exists between many residents and the typical
Basic Car Officer. The
community will begin to see the Officers as genuinely committed
to "protect and serve" them.
Essentially, it is an inexpensive
and simple plan to promote Community Policing.
Officers simply take these packets with them in the Basic Cars ...
"Adopt A Block" : the full program
Even at full strength, the Los Angeles Police Department is one
of the smallest municipal police departments per capita in the country.
It is obvious that the more the community is in partnership with
the Division the more effective the concepts of Community Policing
and the Ideal Basic Car programs will be.
As Chief Bernard C. Parks has said about Problem Solving partnerships,
"Safeguarding our communities is a combined responsibility shared
by all residents ..."
But for many the relationship with the Department is damaged, and
it is crucial for the LAPD Officers to initiate contact with
members of the community they serve.
"Adopt A Block" is intended build cooperation and trust. It
addresses two purposes:
to help LAPD identify specific members of the community as potential
partners in Community Policing programs, and
2) to introduce local residents to the Officers from their Basic
Car area and to put problem solving tools directly into the
The "Adopt A Block" program described herein is a model. Since each
Division has its own individual neighborhoods, with their own special
problems, significant latitude for the implementation of these concepts
should be given local Area Commanders.
For example, some Basic Car areas are mainly residential, and some
have large business districts. Some have neighborhoods with mostly
single family homes, while others have many apartment complexes
or housing projects. It will be up to the 18 Division Captains to
adapt, modify and implement the "Adopt A Block" program to best
serve an area's needs.
It is hoped that within the "Adopt A Block" program described below
the spirit, if not the exact process of what is intended, will be
clear. It is designed to compliment, not replace, existing LAPD
Whereas it is now a prime duty of all LAPD Basic Car Officer to
involve themselves in day to day community relations, a job which
had been thought by some to be principally assigned only to the
Senior Lead Officer, this program introduces the individual
Officers in the field to individual local residents in their area.
The "Adopt A Block" program will not require either significant
training or extra duties. The materials needed are not expensive
to create. In fact most of them, with the possible exception of
a pamphlet describing the program itself, already exist.
Each Senior Lead Officer will designate
a specific block or two to each of the Basic Car Officers on the
daylight shifts each month. If more appropriate, a group of smaller
blocks, a business district or even a single building in a large
apartment complex might be substituted.
The Officers will be encouraged, as normal patrol activities permit,
to return to these areas, exit the car, and introduce themselves
to the residents of their assigned blocks. Community members will
be handed the current "Adopt A Block" packet.
Division will provide it's Officers with printed materials to be
handed out during each shift. Folded into the pamphlet describing
"Adopt A Block" can be any number of things: current Problem Solving
contact sheets, information on the Neighborhood Watch, descriptions
of Community Police Advisory Board and LAPD volunteer programs,
and flyers for upcoming LAPD events.
The Officers will offer these tools along with their business cards
(or that of the SLO), or they'll jot down their names in the space
provided on the back of the pamphlet.
They will encourage the residents to become involved in Community
Whenever comfortable to do so, the Basic Car Officers will ask for
a new contact's name, address, and phone number. These names will
be turned over to the SLO on a regular basis.
The Senior Lead Officer will maintain a contact list of the residents
the Officers meet, and will place phone calls to new contacts, periodically
suggesting that some of them become Neighborhood Watch members,
Block Captains, or participate in other Problem Solving programs.
If the community does not have a current Neighborhood Watch the
Senior Lead Office will naturally offer to assist in setting one
The Senior Lead Officer will use this contact list of residents
as a tool for reaching out to the community as needed, and
the Division may choose to maintain an ongoing combined "resource
list" of residents who have been contacted.
At the end of the DP, the SLO will either assign new blocks, or
decide to continue some Officers on the same blocks for an additional
Each local LAPD Division can easily modify and streamline the "Adopt
A Block" program to suit it's own unique purposes. And it can be
implemented citywide in a timely manner.
The essential common denominator will be to empower every Basic
Car Officer with the tools he or she needs to reach out to area
residents, and to have the Officers exit their cars, "Adopt
A Block" packets in hand, and maintaining a posture which makes
LAPD wishes to increase participation and partnership with the community.
The Department needs to actively encourage the Officers take a proactive
attitude, giving the citizens of Los Angeles an ongoing opportunity
to meet, shake hands with, talk to, and get to know them.
And if each Basic Car Officer makes a meaningful contact with only
one or two new residents a week, the results will be dramatic. Through
"Adopt A Block" a Division will quickly gain dozens of involved
partners in Community Policing.
Over a relatively short period of time communication with the community
will be significantly improved, and trust with individual Officers,
and the Department as a whole, will begin to be reestablished.
The emphasis of "Adopt A Block" will be on identifying ways the
local Division can better "protect and serve" its community, and
on encouraging the residents of Los Angeles to become engaged in
meaningful Community Policing partnerships.
Hollenbeck Division C-PAB
323 / 225-6393