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Columbia’s CCP: A Case Study

Third, it gives police officers an “edge” in home-buying, despite their rela-

tively low salaries. Officers were initially cautious of the program

. They were concerned about

the impact on their families, especially their children, of being identified (stigmatized) as the families of officers and of living in transitional areas. They were assured, however, by supervisors and colleagues throughout the department, that the available homes would be in neighborhoods character- ized by strong family life, not high-crime areas. Virtually all caution was al- layed after the first purchase and move. Officer James Brown, his wife and two children bought and moved into a newly refurbished house and sang both its virtues and those of the neighborhood. Currently, 16 officers have pur- chased homes that had been substantially rehabilitated, nine purchased homes not in need of rehabilitation (two of which were new). Nine of the 16 officers who bought rehabilitated homes were white officers who chose to move into integrated neighborhoods. There have been no program casual- ties—no officers or families have regretted their home purchases and moved. Since the State and Local Innovations Award, local, private loan institutions have underwritten 50 percent of the loans and the program has expanded to include other city employees (although the funding arrangements are some- what different). By 1995, 75 other cities either had or were developing com- parable programs.

Other efforts signifying the CPD’s commitment to communities and neigh- borhoods were evident during the early administration of Chief Austin. Po- lice substations were initiated in August, 1990, the first being in Henley Homes, a troubled public housing project of some 800 residents. Under the leadership of Sergeant E. T. Young and Chief Austin, the experience in Hen- ley Homes became a virtual pretest of what later was to become community policing throughout the city. While many elements of community policing were present, at least two principles were established that continue to influ- ence how policing is conducted today in Columbia. First, the police role was expanded beyond law enforcement. This growth did not mean that police were not to be law enforcers, but that their role was to expand significantly. Second, police were to participate in community activities. This, of course, was the basic principle behind the Homeowners program discussed above. In Henley Homes this principle played itself out in police participation in nearly every aspect of life there, including sports, camping trips, community talent shows, dances, Scout activities, after-school tutoring programs, and learning centers for suspended students. Police officers also sponsored teaching activi- ties themselves. The department evaluated the program and claimed five positive results: a 38 percent crime reduction in and around Henley Homes; a 20 percent drop in calls for service; a reduction in response time (because

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