Greenwood Police Chief Jody Bradley spoke to the City Council on Tuesday about some steps the department is taking to boost its community policing.

First, the chief addressed concerns about shots fired on New Year’s Eve, saying no gunshot injuries were reported.

He then explained some recent developments in the department.

By Monday, five new officers should be sworn in, meaning that the  patrol division would only be one officer short of being fully staffed, he said.

The chief couldn’t say after the meeting how many patrol officers the city currently has.

Bradley also said the department is initiating a “high crime group.” This group would feature a couple of officers who would work from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., five days a week, to approach areas where shots are most likely to be fired in the air.

Looking back 90 days from New Year’s Day, Bradley said the department analyzed areas in town where there were reports of shots fired.

Ultimately, 60% of the reported shots were fired  within two four-block areas, the chief said.

“That’s where we’ve got to start — the high-incident areas, without a doubt, and how we help the folks help us,” he said.

Bradley declined to identify those areas after the meeting.

In addition, Bradley said that following the swearing-in of the five officers, he’ll have officers park their cars and patrol neighborhoods on foot.

“It’s the old ‘cop on the beat’ philosophy,” he said. “I’ve got some folks that are excited about doing it, but I want to make sure we have the right mentality. It’s not about catching people doing something wrong. It’s about being there if someone wants to walk up and thank you for being here.”

Finally, while acknowledging the gang issues within Mississippi’s correctional facilities, Bradley said he’s in the process of designating a “gang officer” who would interact and develop rapport with the city’s  gangs. This will help the police be proactive in stopping violence, he said.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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