GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WSAV) — Garden City’s police officers are hoping to connect with their community members through their Chat with a Cop initiative.
The police department has several of the informal events scheduled throughout the city in the coming weeks.
Officers resumed Chat with a Cop on Tuesday after a hiatus during the COVID-19 outbreak.
They set up a tent outside of Food Lion on Minus Avenue with cookies and refreshments for those who stopped by.
Community policing officer Barbara O’Neal tells WSAV NOW that the department encourages people to ask questions, express any concerns or simply get to know their local law enforcement officers.
“We hope that people would just kind of walk up to us, talk to us and tell us what their needs are,” O’Neal said. “We want to be in every area of the city to be available for them.”
Garden City detectives, the crime prevention unit as well as Chief Gilbert Ballard attended Tuesday’s event.
In light of the recent wave of crime in Garden City, including gun violence, O’Neal adds that residents are welcome to approach officers at the events to share any information that could help solve open cases.
“[We hope that] if somebody saw something on the recent shootings or any of the crime problems we’ve been having, they can speak up now without fear of being seen or heard or anybody knowing,” O’Neal said.
In response to the crime spike, Garden City town hall members met Monday to discuss a 10-point plan that could help curb criminal activity in the area.
“On that 10-point plan they mentioned, for the crime prevention neighborhood watch, we can get a neighborhood watch established while we’re out here,” O’Neal said at Tuesday’s Chat with a Cop.
“Crime prevention tips, things to look for, suspicious activity, all those programs can be started from from just coming up here talking to us, and we’re really looking forward to that,” she said.
The goal is to get a neighborhood watch group started on about every other street, if possible, as well as to establish neighborhood watch captains, she adds.
“[We want to] show them that this is their neighborhood watch and show them how to report suspicious activity, when to call the police and when not to call police,” O’Neal said.
Garden City’s Chat With a Cop events will continue as long as the police department has the resources to host them.
The next event will take place on Thursday, Oct. 1 from 9-11 a.m. at the United States Post Office on Highway 21.
Information about upcoming events will be posted to the Garden City Police Department’s Facebook page.