Berlin – The Berlin Police Department recently launched a Community Relations Team, the department’s latest initiative to combat a sharp increase in property crimes.
The team will focus on reinvigorating neighborhood watch programs across the town, improving communication concerning crime trends, educating the community on crime prevention methods, and building positive relationships between the department and residents across the town.
Headed by Lt. Shawn Solek and coordinated by Ofc. Brandon Lagueux, the team encourages residents to form neighborhood watch groups, which greatly help police deter crime and make communities safer, said Deputy Police Chief Christopher Ciuci.
“We cover 26 square miles and it’s the most unfair game of hide-and-seek ever because our officers are out there seeking criminals who are operating under the cover of darkness,” said Ciuci. “We need to recruit more people to help us find the offenders.”
Other Community Relations Team members include Ofc. Cathy Griffin, Ofc. Aimee Krzykowski, Ofc. Kevin Chaffee, and Ofc. Isabella Delgado.
Community members interested in starting a neighborhood watch or becoming a watch captain should contact the department at firstname.lastname@example.org. An officer assigned to your area will contact you.
The officer will address all questions and provide necessary information on crime prevention or starting a neighborhood watch. After its formation, the watch group will have a direct line of communication with an assigned officer.
In just one week, the Community Relations Team already received fifteen applications to establish a watch group.
“People want to feel like there is something they can do to protect themselves, to protect their neighbors but at the same time not putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations,” said Ofc. Delgado.
The team will also coordinate many of the department’s long-standing community events, including Coffee with a Cop, Stuff a Cruiser, police department headquarters open house and tours, Citizen's Police Academy, and many others. Ofc. Lagueux said events are one of the best ways for the department to connect with the community.
“During our events, residents can gather, meet new faces and meet our officers in person,” said Lagueux. “If you ever need officers to come in for a call, you will feel more comfortable if you already know them.”
Detailed information about each Community Relations Team officer is available on the Berlin Police Department Facebook page.