Crofton police have unveiled a program that divides the community into four districts, boosts crime prevention and neighborhood watch programs, and increases special operations aimed at curbing juvenile crime.
"This will be one of the best police protection plans the citizens of Crofton have ever had," said Ed Dosek, president of the Crofton Civic Association.
The plan would extend the neighborhood watch program to all 10,000 homes in the community, establish a crime prevention council for meetings of citizens and police officers, foster police involvement in educational programs in schools and boost traffic enforcement, he said.
Town Manager Jordan Harding also said that Crofton officers will work night and early morning hours, especially on weekends.
The plan assigns one officer to each of Crofton's four sections. The officer will be responsible for foot patrols, reporting covenant violations, street light outages and other problems in the neighborhoods, Harding said.
Police Chief Deborah Bogush, hoping to ease community concerns about changes in the handling of emergency calls in the special tax district, said Crofton officers can respond alongside county officers on any call.
Crofton residents have complained for years that they were not getting their money's worth from the county Police Department, which had been leaving all calls up to the five-member Crofton force, originally established to supplement county protection.
Residents were upset with the new call procedure as it was announced last November. County police assigned a permanent officer to the tax district, bounded by routes 3, 424 and 450. After the patrol changes, county officers were supposed to respond to all calls first and write all reports.
But residents complained at a civic association meeting two months ago that county officers would not be able to get to an emergency fast enough.
At the same meeting, Bogush said her officers were demoralized because they felt the county was taking over their jobs. Her comments drew criticism from at least one board member.
Bogush said at Monday's meeting that the confusion had been cleared up.
"Crofton (police officers) can respond to any call for service," Bogush said, adding that her officers, if available, will respond to all emergency calls, although county officers will write the reports and be in charge of the scene.
The new procedure should also free Crofton officers for other investigations, such as concentrating on vandalism in parks and juvenile violence, a growing occurrence in the tax district.