When citizens feel connected to their police department lots of good can happen. We’ve been doing a good job of this, but I’d like to see our efforts expand. We’ve been ranked the safest third-class city in the state for the past five years, and for good reason, but that doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels.
Since 2009 the Bethlehem Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit, otherwise known as “the horse police” have not only been providing valuable crowd control at the many festivals in town, but their authoritative, yet non-threatening presence has created an atmosphere where residents and visitors are compelled to interact with our officers. We’ve also got excellent officers who are out on bicycle and foot in our neighborhoods keeping the citizens of Bethlehem safe and informed. While having a visible presence in our business districts is a good thing, we need to find a way to continue to expand that familiar and approachable police presence to all of our neighborhoods.
Another fantastic way that I’ve seen our police department reach out to the community is through its use of social media. I’m not quite sure why, but in the past few months, what used to be regular interaction on Facebook and Twitter has turned into a daily link to the crime summary. The friendly banter and quick responses to questions that people asked really did a lot to build good will and trust between the average person and the police department. I’d like to see us get back to the level of interaction we had a few months ago and grow it even further.
I’ll be at Tapas on Main tonight from 5 – 8 PM. Come out, bring a friend, have a drink, and talk with me and other citizens about the positive future we can create together here in Bethlehem.