CCPD introduces new community engagement program
The Cape Coral Police Department announced Wednesday the beginning of a process of engaging the community, to find out what residents need from the department in order to improve their quality of life.
In addition, the CCPD also announced the launching of a new website.
Interim Police Chief Jay Murphy announced the kick-off of the community engagement program during a press conference. The purpose of the program is to reach out to the community and seek input from the residents of Cape Coral.
He explained that the community engagement program will be a never-ending process because “we want to carry it on and make it a legacy” for the Cape Police Department.
City Manager Gary King, who also attended the press conference, said the city is faced with a situation where there is a perception and a reality.
“We want to bring those two together,” he said, so the perception matches the reality because the realty is what the community expects from the police department.
“We need to know what citizens think,” King explained why the community engagement program is important. He said he wants the “very best, clean views of our community.”
Dr. Jennifer James-Mesloh from Florida Gulf Coast University Institute of Government will be the overall facilitator for the community engagement program.
The program, which will invite 80 members of the community to participate in a forum next month, will allow participants to share their comments and suggestions on how the police department can improve the quality of life in Cape Coral.
She explained that she wants to make sure people in the community are aware of the program, so they can provide their thoughts, feelings, opinions and ideas of what they think needs to be improved with the agency.
Murphy said the department welcomes, wants and needs everyone who can give the police department four or five hours on Saturday, March 5 to share their input. He added that the department needs the young to senior citizens from all demographics.
“We want to go across the gamut with all the classes,” he said.
On March 5, the community members will be split up into groups of 20, James-Mesloh explained, so in-depth conversations can be had with individuals in the small moderated groups.
James-Mesloh said the community members who are invited to the forum will represent all of the demographics of Cape Coral and will range from high school aged students on up. Those who are interested in participating in the community engagement program need to register online at www.capecops.com or by picking up a copy from the information desk at the police department before March 2.
The community engagement program, James-Mesloh said, is to get feedback from community. She explained that the forum will provide the community with the opportunity to share positive, constructive comments, along with any suggestions on how to make things better in Cape Coral.
Those individuals who register, but are not selected, can still share their comments on the website or by picking up a paper copy from the information desk at the police station.
She explained that the questions asked during the forum will be the same ones provided through the website and by paper copy.
James-Mesloh will compile all of the feedback she receives from the forum, as well as from the community members who registered, but were not selected for the forum, so she can present it to the community on March 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.
Everyone is invited to attend the presentation. She said those who cannot make it can view the report online.
New website introduced
In addition to the community engagement program, the police department wanted to offer another venue to keep the community engaged with what it is doing in the community on a daily basis through a new website.
Sgt. Dana Coston provided a glimpse of what the new police department website looks like Wednesday morning, which took him three weeks to produce. He said the website, www.capecops.com, is an attempt to move the department’s online presence into the 21st century.
The two core principals of the website are usability and openness into the Cape Police Department.
Coston said the new website is “more open and more assessable” for the community because it is geared towards slate computers, touch phones and iPads.
He explained that he is very excited about the social media aspects that were added to the website because it provides “ongoing conversation with members of the community.”
The new website will allow the community to follow the police department on Facebook, Twitter, along with watching Youtube videos of what it is are doing in the community.
“It gives us an opportunity to break down the wall that separates the department from the community,” Coston said about the new website.