Holyoke mobile community policing vehicle makes an impact - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Holyoke mobile community policing vehicle makes an impact

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

Police have utilized their mobile community policing vehicle close to a half-dozen times since its debut in September.

Each time out has been for a one day, 12-hour long mission to make in-roads in the community.

Friday marked the first time police planned a two-day long event.

It was not hard to see the impact the mobile community policing vehicle has on a neighborhood. Within minutes of setting up Friday afternoon, officers were met by many residents who wanted to make the corner of Hamilton and South Bridge streets safe.

"I never come here at night," said Dileina Benel, a Springfield resident who frequently visits friends in the area. "I hear people talking about it not being safe to come here at night."

The focus of the two day event is an apartment building on South Bridge Street. Police said it is ground zero for drug dealing and drug use.

"[This event] is not going to fix everything," said Police Chief James Neiswanger. "It lets us put more boots on the ground, which allows more officers to buy into the concept."

At the moment, the police department can only afford to put the vehicle in action once per week. So, they rely on community input before selecting where to set up shop.

As the program continues, they hope to gain more funding.

"It is currently being funded out of my operations budget," said Neiswanger. "Down the road, we will be seeking grant money to help fund it and expand it."

People who frequent the area say they would be happy with a more involved police presence.

"You see police and you feel safe," said Benel.

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