The Resident Officer Program completed another year with a definite positive impact on the neighborhoods that it serves. Police department records continue to show a decrease in criminal activity and an increase in real estate prices in the Resident Officer areas of the city.
Currently, there are two neighborhoods with one resident officer assigned to each. The first neighborhood is in the northwest portion of the city, which is staffed by Officer J. Coker. The second is in the north central portion of Red Bluff Terrace and is staffed by Officer I. Santillanes.
Officer Coker continues a program developed by his predicessor, Officer Cashmore, that allows citizens with outstanding warrants living in his assigned area to perform community service projects in lieu of being confined in jail. Individuals are given the opportunity to participate in this work program and by doing so can pay off their debt owed to the City of Pasadena. The participants work directly with Officer Coker and he is responsible for selecting the projects. The goal of the program is to help residents who cannot physically or financially afford to perform or pay for needed repairs. The target group is low-income elderly persons who are in need of assistance with projects such as painting, mowing, trash removal and other minor repairs. Officer Coker has the moral and financial support from community leaders and local business owners. The program has been extremely successful and the recipients are grateful for the assistance.
Similarly, Officer Santillanes continues a program that targets teenagers who have committed minor traffic or city ordinance violations in his assigned area. These young adults are given an opportunity to perform community service projects such as graffiti removal in lieu of being cited. The parents are informed about the infraction, and all parties participate in deciding the proper discipline.
Officer Santillanes and Officer Coker are successful with other community service projects that include annual City Clean Up Day, National Night Out, and neighborhood clean up parties. In addition, they assist in used tire round up and disposal, DARE graduations, Officer Santa, and Citizen Police Academy functions.
Both officers continue to monitor and vigorously enforce city ordinance violations in their areas to improve the appearance and living conditions. This will remain a standard function of the program throughout its existence along with traditional patrol and enforcement duties addressing public safety.
The Resident Officer Program has evolved into a comprehensive problem-solving, police tool by developing close relationships with residents and city officials to enhance living conditions and reverse social and infrastructure decay. It appears that the program has moved from a phase of rescuing the selected areas from otherwise irreversible deterioration, to a point of stabilization and is moving toward real revitalization.