ORLANDO, Fla. — As a way to strengthen police relationships with people in Orlando communities, Police Chief Orlando Rolon is launching a new community policing effort that requires all new officers to meet and spend time with people in the community they will serve.
- OPD officers getting opportunity to meet community they serve
- Officers hope new initiatives will help build stronger relationships
- Chief Orlando Rolon says idea inspired by NYC police officers
The hum of hair clippers and a jolly laugh is only a fraction of what you will hear at J. Henry’s Barbershop in Parramore. The business and owner himself J. Henry are both a fixture in the community for more than 20 years. It’s why the Orlando Police Dept. chose the barbershop for new officers to come and meet people in the community.
“It gives the officer an opportunity to really truly understand where they are going to be performing their duties,” OPD Chief Rolon said.
Rolon says he borrowed the idea from police officers in New York City and is hoping it will have a lasting impact on officers and people in Orlando.
“… the officers of the Orlando Police Department are not here to tolerate anything other than law abiding individuals, and this is one way we can connect with the community to help us do that,” Rolon said.
J. Henry’s barbershop is a staple in the Parramore community, fitting for the new community policing initiative allowing officers to become immersed within the community.
“(The locals) have an insight into the community. They were here before me, they are probably going to be here for a long while. So getting to know people like that builds a rapport,” said Officer Dwayne Brown.
Brown is new to the Orlando Police force. He’s hoping this new initiative will allow him to connect with people in Parramore, like J. Henry, and build trust so that they can all look out for and count on each other in times of need.
“… that police officer is just like me — he has a family, a wife, he has kids. He’s somebody’s son … and they got my best interest at heart,” J. Henry said.
Rolon says this is the first of more new and engaging community policing initiatives to come. He says as the greater downtown area continues to grow and expand, officers will continue to rely heavily on the community for support.