Vancouver PD creates crime-prevention units

Personnel shuffling produces 2 teams of 1 sergeant, 4 officers

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

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The Vancouver Police Department is moving a few officers around to create two crime-prevention teams.

The groups — called Neighborhood Response Teams, or NRTs — are made up of a sergeant and four detectives. Teams collaborate with crime analysts and neighborhood police officers to address community issues, career criminals, crime hot spots and trends. One team works in the west precinct, the other in the east precinct. (The dividing line between east and west is Andresen Road).

Police hope the new unit, which was formed on Jan. 4, will help the department stop crimes before they happen.

“It basically gives the commander a tool to address what is going on there (in his or her district) right now,” Cmdr. Dave King said. “We can proactively go out and address the people who are causing problems.”

Maximize benefits

Taking positions from patrol units could impact the department’s ability to deliver the same level of service, he said, but the aim is to re-engineer how it works to maximize the benefit to the community.

That includes working on “things that patrol doesn’t have the time or resources to work on,” department spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

If the team does its job, it should decrease the amount of calls patrol officers respond to, King said.

NRT officers will be able to conduct short-term investigations, while patrol officers typically move from call to call and other specialty units conduct long-term investigations, Kapp said.

“We have to make the most of the resources we have,” Kapp said. “Patrol in the future is going to have less and less time for the proactive work.”

Getting the teams in place now will let them get established and get a handle on street-level crime, she said.