ARCATA POLICE WINS AWARD FOR COMMUNITY POLICING
Arcata, Ca- The Arcata Police Department has been given an award by the State of California. It’s the James Q. Wilson Award for Excellence in Community Policing. The award is recognizing the Youth and Family Services Division, now an award-winning program.
Some might say that a police officers job is to respond to calls and make arrest. But in Arcata officers say they are doing much more. Lieutenant Ryan Peterson said, "It's not just going out and arresting the bad guy. It’s going out and fixing the problem… we are trying to do something that is unique, something that is different. Something that is going to have this long term, lasting effect on the community of Arcata."
One of the programs in the division is called ‘Cops and Kids.’ The program is a way for students to see officers beyond the badge. Lt. Peterson added, "police officers really are promoting something like literacy. That being in school, reading, and getting a good education is the most important thing that a child can do."
The Principal at Arcata Elementary said the students enjoy the interaction with the officers. Principal Margaret Flenner said, "the kids see them in a different light. Rather then just the authoritarians, they see them as being apart of the school and the community… when they see them they are waving to them. When they see them in town they go up and talk to them."
And Arcata Police said that’s exactly the kind of community response they are looking to achieve. Lt. Peterson said, "We want to be there to help our youth, to be a positive role model. We want them to grow up and be positive productive members of society."
In winning the James Q. Wilson Award, Arcata Police beat out agencies like San Francisco and San Jose police departments.