The San Antonio Police Department has embarked on a program known as “SAFFE” which stands for ‘San Antonio Fear Free Environment’. A community based program that is making good news and producing positive results. San Antonio has about 100 Officers dedicated to the SAFFE program now in six individual precincts spread across their jurisdiction.
The program states it’s mission is to have “SAFFE officers establish and maintain day-to-day interaction with residents and businesses within their assigned beats, in order to prevent crimes before they happen. SAFFE officers also act as liaisons with other city agencies, work closely with schools and youth programs, coordinate graffiti-removal activities, and serve as resources to residents who wish to take back their neighborhoods from crime and decay. ”
In a recent interview with ABC12 (KSAT) Sgt. Valente Garcia who is attached to the S.A.P.D. East substation as their Property Crimes Sgt. stated: “We’ve realized that the community policing model, being engaged with the community, is an extra resource that kind of helps with fighting crime,”
He explained the program in detail stating:
“A quality of life issue could be an abandoned home, a lot that’s vacant that’s collecting junk, that is a place that attracts crime. You can have loitering, drug dealing, drinking, places to conceal contraband, weapons, people can hide after a crime. So if we address those kinds of issues, I think it eliminates a lot of the criminal activity that is around and addresses that quality of life issue for that person that lives in that area,” Garcia said. “It allows us to share information with other city agencies that not only helps us solve crime but in turn solves a quality of life issue for the residents out here.”
“They put out a problem or issue they had and the officer addressed it and they say, ‘Hey, they solved the problem. I trust that guy. He’s actually a police officer who works in my community. I know him,'” Garcia said. “Most of the time people come into contact with police involuntarily, if we make a stronger effort to be more engaged with the community and addressing something they have a specific concern about, they’re going to build a relationship and that’s going to establish a type of rapport that can go on for years.”
He is encouraged by the rapport that this program has built within the community. Stating that sometimes people will only talk to him about their problems.
This is not uncommon to hear from Officers that have worked close with members of the community. They build a trust and like any other relationship it is always easier to discuss problems with someone you know. The concept has been around for a very long time and where employed Officers develop a deeper and more trusting bond with the people that they serve.
The SAFFE program i made available to the public through any forms. From officers on the street who just stop to talk to residents to their web sites that they have set up for each division.
Their substation links to web pages are directly connected to the citizens of that particular community with contacts for individual officers who can assist. You can access them here:
While these programs exist independently they all fall under the same command of the San Antonio Police Department. Each working to help the residents of that particular community with whatever problems that they have. You can even find out when you can go have “Coffee with the Cops”.
Or find events like that were held on March 10, when Officers Johnson and Officer Ramon went out to Hirsch Elementary School to celebrate Heroes for Health with the kids.