Community Relations and Outreach
The Community Relations and Outreach Unit continuously strive to maintain open communication between law enforcement and the community we serve. The unit was based on the recognition of the need for mutual understanding and cooperation to solve community and neighborhood problems. Through effective relationships, community members learn about policing while law enforcement members learn about the policing needs of the community.
To better understand a community’s need, we involve ourselves directly into neighborhood functions, create and promote community programs, and adopt various projects and services in order to better impact our mission. Our goal is to establish and maintain a healthy collaboration between law enforcement and the public which will foster positive support and a productive police-community relationship.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is driven by a duty to serve the community and its members. We are intentional about remaining community-minded as we fulfill our statutory obligations and provide services to the citizens of El Paso County. The Sheriff’s Office would not be successful if it weren’t for the relationships and partnerships we have created with community members, as it’s these very relationships and interactions that help us not only identify community problems, but allow us to collaborate in an effort to find the best solutions.
Neighborhood Watch is a safety program designed to bring together law enforcement agencies, community organizations, businesses and individual residents in an effort to deter and reduce crime in neighborhoods. As one of the oldest and most effective crime prevention programs in the country, it was created in 1972 and developed in response to requests from sheriffs and police chiefs seeking a crime prevention program involving citizens. Neighborhood Watch programs are an effective tool in fighting crime.
In 2016, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office began offering an awareness level program for community members that focuses on how to create A RESPONSE PLAN and HELP prepare for a response to a critical incident. R.E.A.C.T. stands for Rapidly Evolving Active Crisis Training. This is a three hour course designed to explore how to train for different types of critical incidents and highlights the need to have a plan in advance of a crisis situation. The course is meant for groups of 15-50 people.
Video cameras are one of the best methods for detecting and apprehending criminals. Police regularly ask public organizations, businesses, and individuals to share video camera footage that might aid in crime-solving efforts.
A cup of coffee is a common bond and activity usually shared by friends. It is also a way for strangers to come together and get to know each other. In this light, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is trying to build better relationships with the community that we serve. So…. What is Coffee with a Cop?
- It is agenda free. There will be no Power Point presentations, no speeches or specific topics to discuss. Just informal conversation about what matter to the community or anything else that you would like to talk about.
- There are no barriers. There are no radios or patrol vehicles or calls for service to attend to. It is just a time for the Sheriff’s Office to be more approachable and have a relax conversation with our citizens.
- Time for problem solving. These events are great opportunities to work on solutions to ongoing issues in neighborhoods. By coming together under less stressful circumstances, peaceful and wise solutions can be realized and only strengthens the relationships between the Sheriff’s Office and the community.
In January 2016, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in collaboration with local schools in El Paso County launched a reading education and community interaction program, dubbed “Badges and Books”. This program brings uniformed Law Enforcement officers to classrooms to interact with students by reading books and answering questions.
The Community Liaison to Seniors program provides a proactive approach to help seniors and at-risk adults within our community avoid becoming victims of crime. All too often, seniors become targets of any number of scams, ranging from telephone scams to fraud scams. Criminals choose to prey on this group for a variety of reasons, some of which include their trusting personalities and the difficulty for a senior citizen to be a strong witness and follow a criminal case through prosecution.
The Citizens’ Academy offers participants a broad overview and unique insight into the various functions of the Sheriff’s Office. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a ride-along with deputies to observe first-hand the variety of calls handled by the Sheriff’s Office. A tour of the Criminal Justice Center will be conducted to demonstrate the challenges facing our detention staff. Topics of discussion will include the intricacies of a criminal investigation as detectives take them through the investigative process. Additionally, participants will learn about use of force, vice and narcotics operations, and emergency services, which includes our Wildland Fire and Search & Rescue teams. The tours are an opportunity for citizens to learn about the challenges faced by law enforcement.