An important mission of the Houston Police Department is to enhance the quality of life for citizens by working cooperatively with the public. In this month’s Lebanon Times article, I will focus on helpful information for business owners and social workers.

At the Midwest Division, highly trained Differential Response Team (DRT) officers are stationed at storefronts, situated in your neighborhoods, focusing on improving community relationships and the quality of life issues.  The primary mission of my DRT officers is to work with the Business District Community to reduce crime and provide a safe environment.  DRT officers proactively work with community members using traditional and non-traditional innovative forms of problem solving to impact crime, calls for service, safety issues and quality of life concerns within the Business District. They  addresses a wide variety of issues such as unkempt lots, residential improprieties, apartment complex ordinance violations, illegal massage parlors, environmental violations and business licensing regulations (investigations involving business licensing ensure compliance with City Code requirements in order to maintain a safe environment for local business owners, employees, and consumers).

In addition to code enforcement, my DRT officers are greatly involved in the following community outreach programs:

Teen And Police Service (TAPS) – The goal is to reduce the social distance between at-risk youth and law enforcement. This is accomplished through classroom education and interaction with students and police officer volunteers who offer their services at local high schools.

Houston Police Explorers – Provides young men and women ages 14-21 years of age who express an interest, an opportunity to learn more about careers in the field of law enforcement.  The program helps young adults choose an appropriate career path within law enforcement and to challenges them to become responsible citizens in their communities.

Greater Houston Police Activities League (GHPAL) – Recruiting Houston area youth ages 8-18 and adult volunteers to participate in athletic, educational and mentoring activities. The goal is to reduce juvenile crime and violence through “Relational Policing” which includes building trusting relationships among youth, law enforcement and the community.

Citizens Patrol – The Houston Police Department is concerned about crime in the neighborhoods and communities throughout the city. In response, the Citizens Patrol Program brings citizens and the police department together for a common goal, to improve the quality of life by eliminating crime. The Citizen Patrol program is designed to provide a means for citizens to organize into patrol groups for reducing crime in their community.

Positive Interaction Program – The Positive Interaction Program holds monthly PIP meetings at the Midwest Police Station and features speakers from different divisions (Burglary and Theft, Homicide, K-9, Helicopters, etc.) explaining how their division operates. This is so citizens will know what to expect should they ever need the police.

Refugee Education Orientation: We meet newly arrived refugees in the Midwest Division area of responsibility. Our purpose is to educate the new members of the community about the laws, procedures, and police resources available to them, if they are ever needed.

Finally yet importantly, we have planned a “Back to School Bash” community event which is designed to help economically disadvantaged Houston-area students and their families prepare to return to school. The students receive a free backpack containing school supplies donated by community members and local business owners, just like you! We believe that the positive interaction between students, their families and the police officers will have a lasting positive effect on community relationships. I highly encourage you or someone you know that is economically disadvantaged who may benefit from receiving these schools supplies to attend this event.

Event: Back to School Bash

Agenda: Donate supplies to school children

Date: August 18, 2018

Time: 10:00 A.M to 2:00 P.M

Location: Midwest Police Station, 7277 Regency Sq. Blvd Houston, TX 77036

If you are business owner, social worker, or a concerned citizen interested in participating in any one of the programs, please contact my DRT Officer H. Amri Heythem.Amri@HoustonPolice.Org. He will be pleased to provide any additional information. Thank you and be safe!