Lieutenant Justin Davoult
Community Services Section Supervisor
The Community Services Section is focused on 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.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMS
The Punta Gorda Police Department works in partnership with the Charlotte County School System to ensure the safety of all students attending schools in the City of Punta Gorda. We have six school resource officers and
Elementary School Students
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.
Middle School Students
At the middle school age level we build on developed relationships to begin teaching the children, focusing on citizenship and anti-violence behavior.
- 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 Students
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 Officers and SRO K-9 Chase: Having an officer dedicated to the high school is a major key to a positive dialogue between high school aged youth and the police. In the summer of 2018, the department recognized that not all high school students are willing to actively engage with school resource officers. To increase SRO and youth interaction, the department added SRO K-9 Chase to Charlotte High School. SRO K-9 Chase is the first police dog in Charlotte County to serve as a school resource officer (K-9). He is a friendly fun loving dog trained in narcotics detection. He loves to meet the students and they love him. He helps us bridge the gap between the SROs and kids who may not be otherwise interested in interacting with police officers. He also provides a therapeutic calming presence when a student becomes upset or agitated.
- 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 philosophy assists greatly in developing dialogue between citizens and the police department. We firmly believe in working in partnership with our community members to create a safe place to live, work, and visit. We engage in a variety of methods to share information and create trust through transparent policing.
- Punta Gorda & Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte County/Punta Gorda Community Task Force, and 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.
- Chief's Citizen Advisory Council: The CAC is made up of representatives of several neighborhoods in Punta Gorda. Members bring quality of life issues to the attention of the Chief and other Command Staff members so solutions can be discussed by everyone. The representatives are introduced to other areas of the City Government and Criminal Justice system to develop resources.
- Chief's Business Advisory Council: Similar to the CAC, the BAC is made up of representatives from local business owners within the City of Punta Gorda. Business crime trends are shared and tactics to prevent victimization are discussed. The representatives are introduced to other areas of the City Government and Criminal Justice system to develop resources.
- 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.