DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton Police Department is taking steps to streamline operations and improve community relations. Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal went before Dayton City Commission on Wednesday to outline his plan for restructuring.
The plan will create new divisions within the police department with a major overseeing each division. All patrol operations will now be under one division, and the new Community Services Division will include all training and community engagement initiatives.
Chief Afzal said the goal is to increase patrols and get more officers out in the community.
“I think the biggest way to suppress crime is when citizens pick up the phone and say not in front of my house, not in front of my street. And I think this is a way to kind of create the legitimacy by seeing the same group of officers,” Chief Afzal said.
This new plan would move 30 personnel from the investigations division to the patrol division. Chief Afzal said this will also allow more time for officers to decompress between calls.
“There’s a lot of stress and when they’re going call to call to call, we want to make sure that stress doesn’t get in the way of us behaving in the most appropriate manner,” Chief Afzal explained.
The restructuring also includes the creation of geographic beats, which will put the same group of officers in the same area of Dayton. Chief Afzal hopes this will foster more trust with people living in those neighborhoods.
“When you know each other, I think there’s always a tendency to be kinder and gentler because you know the neighborhood. And when you know the neighborhood, you also know the individuals who are going to cause harm against someone else,” Chief Afzal said.
Chief Afzal also believes this restructuring could help with the department’s ongoing recruitment struggles.
“In the last two years, because some unfortunate things have occurred, and they’re not the norm, they’re the exception, but it’s been pertained that those are the norm and I think that goes a long way towards discouraging people from applying, especially people of color or female candidates. They say why should I go in a profession that everyone talks badly about, so we want to make sure the humanity that does exist in our law enforcement, and it does in Dayton, to kind of shine that,” Chief Afzal explained.
This plan is part of the police department’s ongoing push for reform and was designed with input from the community. Something Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims, Jr. felt was crucial moving forward.
“We repeatedly got information from the citizens that wanted to have a closer touch, if you will. We’re trying to find the best way possible to increase the level of trust between the policed person and the police officers themselves,” Mims said.
The Dayton Police Department is hoping to implement this plan by June 1, 2022. The city commission will discuss this plan again during the next meeting.