Lancaster community policing brings officers and neighbors together

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LANCASTER CITY, Pa. -- Relations between police and some communities across the country may be strained, but the Lancaster City Bureau of Police is working alongside neighbors to change that relationship.

With fewer police on the force today, Lancaster City officers don't walk the streets like they used to, but that doesn't mean their presence is gone.

Lancaster City Bureau of Police Captain Jarrad Berkihiser said "it's kind of hard for us to go door-to-door in a neighborhood, knock on doors and say 'hey, I'm your sector officer, your assigned sector officer. We don't have the time or manpower unfortunately to do that."

Millersville University professor and director of the Center for Public Scholarship and Social Change Dr. Mary Glazier said "foot patrol is not the answer. It's not even been shown to be particularly effective in combating crime."

Dr. Glazier has worked to bring the community together, in the city's southwest neighborhood.

"What's effective is identifying particular problems and targeting them, and having community and police work together to solve them," Glazier said.

Neighbors United co-chair Noah Miller is one member of the northeast community who has done just that.

Noah Miller said "whenever we've had neighborhood issues, if we ask the police to send out the sector officer or some other officer who are on patrol that night, and meet with our neighborhood group when we've had a meeting, they'll absolutely do it. "

Meeting with neighborhood leaders is just one way police build relationships with the community.

"We interact with the city's youth, at early ages and fostering those relationships early on," Capt. Berkihiser said.

While many are satisfied with the presence of Lancaster police, both police and some community members agree there's always more to be done.

"That's how you build a relationship that makes people feel comfortable, in going to the police, when they notice things as opposed to questioning whether they should call," Miller said.

Lancaster City Alliance vice-president Shelby Nauman said "Lancaster City Alliance is very focused on quality of life and neighborhoods, so it's very important for us to work closely with police and we are often times someone who can help bridge a gap between police and the community."

"If there are community members who want to speak to and talk to police more than what they do just on 911 calls for service then they also have to make it a point to also reach out to us," Capt. Berkihiser said.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.