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March 24, 2004
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Community Policing A Go in Huntsville Ala.

It's a neighborhood that is more than 100 years old. Toys litter the streets, and people pass through West Huntsville's Lowe Mill Village, but children stay close to home. Talk to resident Jenny Cooper, and you'll understand why.

"A car - a station wagon - a white one - a gal got in it and she was a hooker."

That was just last week - but Cooper says it could be any day.

"Everyday you see one up and down this street."

It's one potential problem named in a survey Huntsville Police handed out to residents.

Community policing is now more than an idea - it's a reality.

"At the core of this way of the business is the police department opening its doors to let the community in to be a part of the way we do business," Police Chief Compton Owens explained.

Police sent out that invitation in the form of a letter, stating, "Two-way communication is vital to this partnership."

That's all it took for some to respond.

"Filled it out and gave it back to them," Tony Robertson said.

Tony is not alone. 22 completed surveys made it back into the hands of Huntsville Police within 24 hours of the survey going out. But it's essential that the lines of communication stay open.

"The residents of the community are extra eyes and ears for us," said West Precinct Captain Lewis Morris.

Mayor Loretta Spencer added, "We've seen how it [community policing] works in Colonial Hills. We listened up there."

And now, they're trying to listen here.






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