Tyler officers go door-to-door for new outreach program

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - In an effort to become closer to the community, officers from the Tyler Police Department's Community Response Unit visited people  at their homes.

"I want them to see, hey, we're people too. I mean I grew up in North Tyler. So I want to say hi to everybody I want to be friends with some of these people. And hopefully they see me as someone other than just a police uniform," said Officer April Molina.

Molina says the enhanced community outreach program is one way police identify problems in individual neighborhoods.

"It's important for us to build a community relationship. I mean a lot of info, a lot of intel, a lot of problems that we don't actually see because we're answering calls, you know. Somebody else in the neighborhood will see it and be able to talk to us about it," Molina said.

Residents believe more positive interactions with police can help. They say a familiar face is the best way to reach the community.

"By them doing that, maybe they should do it more often and then that way people will feel more comfortable with them, let people know they're friendly, they can be your friends you know instead of your enemies," Tyler resident Pat Kaufman said.

Kaufman says getting to know officers makes it easier to approach them when issues come up in the neighborhood.

"I would feel more comfortable like if we had a problem to let them know about the problem," Kaufman said.

Kaufman says police outreach programs are a great way for officers to interact with young people and the entire community.

"I think by them coming around going into all the communities, coming around more often, showing themselves to be friends then maybe they'll promote a good feeling across the whole city of Tyler, not just certain parts of it. But the whole city of Tyler needs this camaraderie," Kaufman said.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.[endif]