By Andrew Mills, Palm Springs Police Chief
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “There comes a point when we have to just stop pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.” The police spend their day pulling people out of rivers, infrequently going upstream to stop them from falling into the swift waters. Palm Springs police intend to prevent those on the bank from falling in the river by implementing Neighborhood Policing and problem-solving.
A defined mission and established crime-fighting priorities are crucial to an effective Neighborhood Policing program. Each day when our officers go into the field, they need a clearly defined focus. Without a central focus, their day becomes random, call-driven, and tedious. Unfortunately, for too many police agencies, the radio sets the strategy. Plucking people from the river is the default strategy. Often, we are too busy saving people in the river to give serious thought to reducing crime upstream.
Through practical knowledge and academic research, we know that some methods of crime control are more effective than others. At the Palm Springs Police Department, we seek to deploy the best evidence-based practices possible to reduce, manage and control crime. At the end of the day Palm Springs should expect its police force to be effective crime fighters. To establish a police mission in step with the culture of Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Police Department invites our residents and businesses to help shape the department’s future through a series of public meetings, February 15-19.
Meetings will be held in each of the five City Council districts and Council members will be present. The sessions will take place in a structured town hall environment where everyone will have equal input. Community input will help to establish our mission and chart our path forward.
The second part of the meeting is to establish our crime-fighting priorities by city area. Our job is to analyze problems and go after the underlying conditions allowing the issues to flourish. Police agencies have learned that to focus on everything simultaneously is to focus on nothing at all—mission dilution results in ineffective crime control. Instead, a laser-focused effort on specific problems can result in reduced crime and increased public safety. Increased public safety is our goal.
The series of meetings with our elected officials will be held on the following dates:
- February 15 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Victoria Park, 2744 N. Via Miraleste
- February 16 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros
- February 17 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Cahuilla Elementary School, 833 E. Mesquite Ave.
- February 18 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Palm Springs High School, 2401 E. Baristo Road
- February 19 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, Demuth Park, 4200 E. Mesquite Ave.
Our crime analyst will provide you with crime maps, data on crime trends, and calls for service. If you can’t make the meeting in your Council district, you are encouraged to attend another session on a date that works for you.
The City of Palm Springs prides itself on being one of the most welcoming and inclusive communities in the nation – and with that in mind, I am confident these important neighborhood meetings will help us unite and find a path forward that ensures the highest quality of life in Palm Springs.
So come, join your neighbors and elected officials, and help direct the future of PSPD. We are all in this together!
Andrew Mills is the Chief of Police in Palm Springs. You can reach him via email at Andrew.Mills@palmspringsca.gov