The Westfield Police Department has launched a new business district officer program as part of the department's community policing unit.
"There was a little bit of almost a disconnect between the police department and the business community, which is the gap that we are trying to bridge now so that we can sit with the business community and determine with them what the issues are what they want to see us working on," said Westfield Police Sgt. Eric Hall who is the supervisor for the city's community policing unit.
The hope is that the officer assigned to the business district will help police to get in front of any problems the area might face.
"We didn't have anything specifically related to the business district," said Hall. "With all the work that our city has been doing in the downtown area we decided that was a huge thing that we should really be involved in."
Community policing is not a new concept for the department, but this new district is. In total five areas throughout the city are covered by a community policing officer.
"If there are problems that are just starting to develop we can nip those sorts of things in the bud it's really really exciting for the merchants," said Maureen Belliveau the Executive Director of the Business Improvement District.
Officer Mark Carboneau has been assigned to the new district.
"Deterrence is a big part of crime prevention," said Carboneau. "Me being in the downtown area is going to allow the visibility so that hopefully it keeps our downtown beautiful because as we all know downtown is going to be an upcoming thing in Westfield."
"We as merchants meet monthly and talk about what we might be able to do to develop business and we all in the past had a different person that we worked with," said Chuck Kelly, who owns Flowers By Webster in downtown Westfield. "So, now with Mark, we have the single source to approach."
Kelly says he is excited about the new program.
"We're looking to compete as a destination city and this is just one of those steps to talk to help get us there," said Kelly.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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