The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25 put police forces across the nation on the proverbial chopping block.
Gulfport Police Chief Rob Vincent has implored the community to not lump Gulfport police into the batch of violent officers that have shaken the nation.
The Gulfport Police Department notes they are working in different ways to reach out to residents for a mutual, deeper understanding of community policing needs and the policies of the GPD.
“I encourage anyone who would like a closer look at how law enforcement operates on a day to day basis to participate in your local citizens’ police academy. Most agencies, including state and federal, make these programs available multiple times per year,” Chief Vincent wrote on his blog in response to the death of George Floyd.
Gulfport’s Citizen Police Academy typically runs once per year, depending on demand. The program runs for eight to ten weeks, one night per week and attendees will experience everything from the crash investigation and communications center to the gun range and the pursuit driving course.
The GPD also hosts a Neighborhood Watch program, where residents can get involved on a hyperlocal level, right from their front porch.
Currently, there are four organized groups throughout Gulfport. The GPD hosts virtual, group-centric Neighborhood Watch meetings every Wednesday on their official Gulfport Neighborhood Watch Facebook page. Gulfport Police Commander Josh Stone and Volunteer Coordinator Jim Wright are GPD’s assigned staff to the program.
Trolley Market District Neighborhood Watch Meeting
First Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m.
Includes the Tangerine and Tomlinson neighborhoods
Marina District Neighborhood Watch Meeting
Second Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m.
The Strand Neighborhood Watch Meeting (Includes Town Shores)
Third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.
Stetson Area Neighborhood Watch Meeting
Fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.
If the Neighborhood Watch is something you may be interested in, contact Volunteer Coordinator Jim Wright at 727-893-1022 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Citizen’s Police Academy contact the program coordinator at 727-893-1111.
The GPD also has a frequently asked questions page pertaining to police actions, and is soliciting community feedback on the department’s use-of-force policies. Go to gulfportpolice.com, contact at email@example.com or call 727-893-1049.