Friday, March 30, 2012

Getting to Know the Department: COPPS

As I continue to share with you the duties and roles of police officers within the department, I would like to take the time to talk about our Community Policing and Problem Solving Officers (COPPS). There are eight COPPS officers assigned to four areas of the city.

The COPPS officers work with the community to build relationships and solve problems. They work with neighborhood leaders, apartment community managers, other city departments, social services agencies, and other police officers to identify long-term solutions to problems that trouble neighborhoods.

A typical day for a COPPS officer may include researching the previous night’s calls for service and reports taken by other police officers, meeting with an apartment community manager about an ongoing noise complaint issue with a tenant, and preparing for an upcoming safety presentation for a neighborhood association meeting.

COPPS officers are on the street every day answering calls for service, conducting traffic enforcement where residents have complained about traffic problems, and assisting other police officers in solving problems.

You might think of a COPPS officer as a police officer with a larger “tool belt” to solve problems. They all have strong professional partnerships with other agencies, including social services agencies. A recent example of the type of problem solving our COPPS officers perform was when Officer T. Bentch assisted an elderly resident with her living arrangements. Officer Bentch discovered the resident’s air conditioning was not working, there was no food in the home, and the resident said she had eaten her last meal the day before. The officer helped by facilitating the repair of her air conditioner, and by contacting a local food pantry for assistance.

With the summertime fast approaching, you will see COPPS officers on bicycles patrolling neighborhoods, apartment communities, and parks. The bicycles allow officers to patrol areas not readily accessible to traditional vehicle patrols, and they also allow better communication opportunities with residents.

If you would like more information about our COPPS officers, go to the city’s website (http://www.opkansas.org/) or contact police communications at 913-895-6300 and ask to be put in touch with the COPPS officer assigned to your neighborhood.