“This is really a dynamic set of circumstances that I don’t know is going on anywhere else in the country,” said Holyoke Police Chief James M. Neiswanger. “This is unique to Holyoke. Anybody will tell you, you can’t put a street cop on every street corner or a community police officer on every street corner. The reality is because this is mobile, we can extend our range and our presence to those problem spots.”
In this case, the truck is parked across from 556 South Bridge Street.
Surveillance video shows a constant stream of people in and out who police say are buying and selling drugs. It’s less than a block from Morgan Elementary School.
The mobile unit is meant as a show of strength to criminals, but the officers are also there to show their commitment to law abiding people.
They’re talking to kids and their families in the area and are handing out information door to door,
“I feel very happy about them taking care of the community, the city taking care, better care than it was before,” said Hector Flores who lives nearby.
The Mobile Community Policing truck will be here for only for two days. It rotates to a new location each week. The location is determined with input from residents about where they would like to see extra police support.
So, is two days long enough to make a lasting effect?
The unit has been deployed to six other places in the city and in those cases, it was just for a day at a time. Police said that was enough time to make an impression not just for people in the neighborhood, but for the police officers on the detail, too.
“Those patrol officers that got involved, now sometimes they made a relationship or whatever and that continues on in their next day’s patrol after this is over,” said Holyoke Police Captain David Pratt who helped create the idea of the mobile community policing unit.
Two permanent police substations will be opening within the next couple of months. They will be at 176 High Street and at 118 Hamilton Street. There’s already one at the corner of Sargeant and Maple streets.