The Wallingford Police Department has announced the creation of a new work group dedicated to solving ongoing problems — problems that might otherwise “fall between the cracks.”
The Community Impact Unit, designed to deal with “blight, unregistered cars on public and private property, continuing noise complaints, narcotics, quality-of-life issues, parking enforcement and thefts from vehicles,” sounds like a practical idea that could increase police efficiency in those areas while freeing up the Patrol Division. The unit will work with other town departments, residents and businesses.
“The patrol division is getting busier all the time,” Police Chief William Wright said. “We're putting more and more work on them to do, and as a result of that we don't want some of these equally as important issues to fall away.”
While Patrol already deals with these “quality-of-life” issues, these situations often take a back seat to serious crimes and emergencies that simply can’t wait.
The new unit should also have the time and resources to meet with business owners, clergy, residents and others and thus keep up with their ongoing concerns. This can be seen as an aspect of “reinventing policing” that may not immediately come to mind when using a term that has been much in the national news this year.
It sounds like a positive move. As former Town Councilor Stephen Knight wrote in this newspaper on Sunday, the Community Impact Unit can bring about better coordination among town departments, quicker resolution of residents’ complaints, and more positive contact with the public. If this works, now one department won’t assume that another department is taking care of a specific complaint or issue.
Better yet, Chief William Wright said he is not seeking any additional funds or staff for the new unit.
Sounds like a plan.