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TRUTH Talk Informs Students on Danville Police Department’s Policing Techniques

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TRUTH Talk Informs Students on Danville Police Department’s Policing Techniques

Billy Wooten from the CCECC introducing Captain Pace and Captain Thompson from the Danville Police Department

Billy Wooten from the CCECC introducing Captain Pace and Captain Thompson from the Danville Police Department

Garrett Haskins

Billy Wooten from the CCECC introducing Captain Pace and Captain Thompson from the Danville Police Department

Garrett Haskins

Garrett Haskins

Billy Wooten from the CCECC introducing Captain Pace and Captain Thompson from the Danville Police Department

Garrett Haskins, Writer

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Policing is a profession that most are familiar with but there are many misconceptions about policing and there is a lack of discussion about them. Averett held a forum with two captains from the Danville Police Department on Wednesday to inform the students on some of the policing techniques that they use and to answer any of the questions from the students.

Garrett Haskins
Students gather prior to the start of the forum.

T.R.U.T.H. Talks, the name of the forum, is a national program that allows students to discuss current issues that surround them. The acronym stands for True Rational Understanding Through Honest Talks.

The T.R.U.T.H. Talk was held in Blount Chapel from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. There were two speakers, Captain Jerry Pace Jr. and Captain Keith Thompson, who are the officers in charge of the North and South sectors of the city. The talk was moderated by Billy Wooten from the CCECC.

The talk was preceded by a video that the Danville Police Department had made that stated their goals of connecting with the community. The video showed various recordings of officers in the community and some interviews with the officers shown in the video.

After the video, Pace and Thompson shared a presentation about the new policing technique that Danville has implemented in 2019. The technique, called sector policing, divides the city into two sectors. The South sector of the city is assigned to Pace and the North sector is assigned to Thompson.

The beat officers in the sector report to their superior, who reports to the captain in charge of the sector. The captain’s job is to move officers to areas that are high in crime to try to prevent crimes from occurring.

“[Sector Policing] Assigns geographic accountability. Once a month we have to report to our findings,” Pace said.

There are a few different techniques that the police use to determine where the high crime areas are in the city. A technique that they use is heat mapping.

“We highlight crimes and make a ‘heat map’,” said Thompson. “Hotspots are our focus areas.”

Garrett Haskins
Captain Thompson demonstrating a ‘heat map’ of criminal activity in the city of Danville.

The new technique of sector policing has only been in effect for a few months, but the effects have already been seen in the city. The rate of many different crimes are down compared to the same time span in 2018.

“Other than theft from buildings, all other crimes [displayed on the graphic in the presentation] are in the negatives,” Thompson said. “This has had a very positive affect on crime.”

Thompson noted how a singular arrest can affect the number of crimes that are committed in the community. He mentioned an example of an individual that was arrested recently, and the crime rate in the area of the arrest decreased.

Although the crime rate has decreased, there are still a fair amount of crimes being committed. Most of the crime is theft.

“Larceny in the city of Danville is a problem,” Pace said.

Pace then brought up a few methods that residents can use to curb crime and make the officers’ jobs easier. He informed the people in attendance about a service called ReportIt. The service allows citizens to log their personal items’ serial numbers and upload it to a registry. If the items happen to be stolen, the list can be printed and shared with the police.

An individual in the crowd asked a question about what to do in a traffic stop at night. Pace said that you should pull over immediately and when interacting with the officer to keep your hands in plain sight.

The event concluded with Pace and Thompson receiving awards from Teresa McNeal, on behalf of the Averett Criminal Justice club. The award was for their service to the community.

About the Contributor
Garrett Haskins, Writer

Garrett is a sophomore majoring in communication studies/journalism. His dream job is to work for a national newspaper or magazine. Outside of class, he...

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TRUTH Talk Informs Students on Danville Police Department’s Policing Techniques