The primary function of the Community Services Section is the prevention of crime through citizen awareness, education and citizen participation. The primary objective is to upgrade the overall quality of life within the community.
Punta Gorda Police Department Community Outreach Programs
Elementary School Level
In this age group, the department’s primary focus is developing positive relationships with the children, and interacting with them outside of their homes.
- D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance and Education)
- This is instructed by the Sallie Jones School Resource Officer and is a first step to developing positive relationships between children and the police department.
- Police Department Tours
- Throughout the year, officers facilitate tours of the police department to various Pre-K daycare classes, elementary classes, cub scout groups, and religious camps. The children are able to interact with officers and support staff and ask questions.
- On Site Presentations
- Stranger Danger Presentations
- Halloween Event (Interactive Trailer, Safety giveaways)
- Soccer Federation Celebration
- Public Safety Awareness Day
- Home Depot Kid’s Workshop
Middle School Level
At the middle school age level we build on developed relationships to begin teaching the children, focusing on citizenship and anti-violence behavior.
- G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training)
- This course is taught to all 7th grade students in an effort to reduce violence, enhance social skills and educate the students regarding the dangers of gang involvement.
- Jammers Youth Basketball Program
- This program connects at-risk youth with positive role models, both sworn and civilian members of the police department. Through physical activity the youths are encouraged to seek positive outlets for their energy, and it removed them from possible negative situations at home or in their neighborhoods.
High School Level
At the high school age the focus of the police department is molding students into successful young adults through interaction at school events, presentations, and activities.
- School Resource Officer Program
- Having an officer dedicated to the high school is a major key to a positive dialogue between high school aged youth and the police.
- Social Media
- The department connects with the community on several social media platforms that appeal to a younger demographic including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- School Event Participation
- Officers frequent school events so that an officer’s presence is normal to students, and does not indicate a problem exists, or incite anger or paranoia.
Our community policing model assists greatly in developing dialogue between citizens and the police department. A key factor in anti-government riots appears to be the perceived disenfranchisement of a section of society. By including all citizens, specifically our city residents, in our communication we hope to prevent that from occurring in our community.
- S.A.F.E. (Self-Defense Familiarization and Exchange)
- This class is taught be female officers to female students, primarily focused on methods to prevent placing themselves in dangerous situations and a few basic self-defense maneuvers to protect one against attackers.
- Punta Gorda & Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce/ New Operation Cooper Street Meetings
- These meetings act as an avenue to network with community members. In addition, it provides a mechanism to relay any concerns our local businesses or citizens are experiencing.
Social Media / City Website
- These social media tools are utilized to relay information as well as provide a direct line to the police department for crime information or concerns about the community.