When custody battles and threatening phone calls pose problems, civic agencies should have a trusted advisor to turn to in the law enforcement community.
That’s the kind of liaison Oberlin police chief Juan Torres wants to provide to the Oberlin Early Childhood Center, Kendal at Oberlin, Oberlin Community Services, and the Salvation Army.
They are the first four groups in a new community policing program Torres will roll out in 2016 with hopes of building strong relationships between police and social support agencies.
Each organization will be assigned a police lieutenant or sergeant to talk over problems such as domestic disputes and nuisance complaints.
Torres said his previous department in Alexandria, Va., launched this program in the 1990s.
“I became a liaison for two organizations for 17 years,” he said. “It creates a line of communication and partnership.”
An officer will attend meetings, contact with the organization’s director each month, and give Torres a monthly report on concerns and issues that have been solved.
The liaison must also attend at least two meetings per year, encourage ride-alongs, advise the group about criminal activity, and inform agencies of police and community events.
“You create a very good working relationship,” Torres said.
As more organizations join the program, the police chief will assign other officers to assist the groups.
Any civic group interested in joining the program is encouraged to contact Torres at 440-774-1061 for more information.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.