(The state of crime in Wallingford, and the police’s reaction to it, is serious enough that I’m going to set aside the normal “Wallyhood We” conceit of this blog, and write this one in the first person singular. The playful, snarky tone doesn’t seem appropriate.)
I was so shocked by Kristi’s comment to the Block Watch? post that I felt I needed to talk with the police about it before responding. It read, in part:
I was one of the recent prowl victims. I’m pretty sure I found my stolen GPS receiver on craigslist; it was obvious that the same person was selling several of them, and each one had a different story about why he was selling it. I e-mailed Officer Jackson and called him twice but he never returned my call.
I did get a call from some other detective after I filled out a contact form online. When I asked if he could help me get it back, he recommended that I set up a meeting with the seller in a public place, tell him my unit was stolen and that I wanted to check the serial number, and then dial 911 — “90% of the time, they just run away.” Um, what about the other 10%? When I mentioned that this didn’t sound safe, he said: “Bring a guy with you.” Perfect! If I’m gonna get knifed by a crackhead thief, why not let a friend in on the action?
The cops had a chance to question someone who may have been responsible for several break-ins/thefts, and they did nothing.
I had already been directed to Officer Lawrence Jackson, Wallingford’s Community Police Team officer by Diane Horswill, North Precinct’s Crime Prevention Coordinator, so I e-mailed him and asked him to take a look at the comment and respond.
I e-mailed him again, telling him that I was a member of the community and wanted to talk to him about what people could do about crime in Wallingford. No response. I tried a third time. No response.
Although only his e-mail address is provided on the web site, I had his phone number from the comments, so I tried calling him. No answer. I left a voice mail and waited a few days. No response. I tried calling him again, noting in my voice mail that I had e-mailed several times and left him a prior voice mail. That was on Thursday.
When the weekend came and I still had no response, I dropped Diane Horswill a line and let her know that things weren’t going well with our Community Police Team officer:
just wanted to let you know that I’ve e-mailed Lawrence Jackson three times and left him two voice mails. He hasn’t responded at all. I’m going to start trying to climb the chain to see why our Community Police Representative doesn’t respond to his community, but the whole thing is pretty depressing. Obviously, I’ll be blogging about it, as well.
This apparently, got his attention, as I finally got a phone call from Officer Jackson today (thus, scoring better than Kristi, a crime victim, ever did).
He said that he never received my e-mails, they must have ended up in his spam folder (Diane actually cc’ed him on one of the e-mails, and that came from within the department, so that’s a bit surprising; no excuse was offered for the non-response to voice mail). I told him the story from the blog and expressed my surprise, at which point he told me that he had to refer all questions from the “Press” to the Media Relations Unit.
OK, well, at least I wanted to understand what his role was: “Long-running issues that impact the community.”
“Like car prowl?” I asked.
“OK, what do you cover?”
“Drug houses, parking issues…the list is really long.”
I started in with another question about an issue that a neighbor had reported at which point he reminded me that I would have to speak to the media relations office and hung up.
Thank you, Officer Jackson.
I called the Media Relations Office during working hours (11 am). They didn’t answer. I left a voice mail. I’ll let you know if / when it is returned.