James B. Hunt, Jr., Governor
Theodis Beck, Secretary
Patty McQuillan, Director of Public Information (919) 733-4926

May 19, 1999

Community policing showing results in High Point

Police buses, armored cars and helicopters surrounded the Legislative Office Building in downtown Raleigh May 19, as High Point police and probation officers showed off their equipment and talked about working with probation officers.

"We sat down with probation and parole because we realized they were interested in the community policing concept, said Lou Quijas, High Point’s Police Chief. "It’s been a very successful relationship. The success that we have realized in High Point, can in a large part be attributed to the collaboration between the High Point Police and probation and parole."

There have been no homicides in High Point during the last six months. During the same period last year, the city had recorded 11 murders. Assaults involving firearms decreased 50 percent in the first quarter of 1999 compared to the first quarter of last year.

"We’re going after the offenders who aren’t trying to abide by the conditions of probation or the law, but we’re also going after the ones who really want to change their behavior," said Chris Oxendine, the Chief Probation Officer for the High Point area. "Not only are we going after the offenders that won’t change their behavior, we are also offering them a chance to change their behavior by offering them types of resources they wouldn’t have otherwise--jobs, housing if they need it. We’ve even had a tattoo removal for someone that was involved in a gang. All these things are helping out."

Police and probation officers cooperate on a number of fronts. Probation officers now routinely brings new offenders into a meeting where they are introduced to the leaders of community assistance programs. From there, they are taken directly into a meeting of the community’s law enforcement leaders. They are given a clear message: straighten up and take advantage of community programs or face the coordinated efforts of the community’s criminal justice agencies.

Probation and police officers work more closely together now. They share information about offenders and they share workspace, such as the large community policing activity bus displayed in Raleigh. The bus rolls into communities and serves as an office where probation officers can meet their clients and police officers can monitor the community.

Lou Quijas
High Point’s
Police Chief

Quijas 1
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Quijas 2
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Quijas 3
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Chris Oxendine
Chief Probation
Officer for High Point

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Oxendine 2
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"Police officers come into contact with the same offenders that we do. They may not even know they are on probation. The police may be conducting an investigation on these individuals pertaining to a robbery, murder or other crime the probation department did not know about," Oxendine said. "By collaborating and sharing information about offenders, we’re more quickly responding to the crimes that are happening in the area."

Oxendine said the new relationship between probation and police officers helps probation officers feel safer as they go out into the field to more closely supervise probationers. It’s also made officers' jobs easier, since offenders know they are being closely watched and have increased access to assistance programs.

"High Point is a good example of how the system should work," said Chief Quijas. "We’re working hand in hand. The probation and parole officers are always over at the department. We feel comfortable interacting with them. We feel comfortable sharing information with them. I think it’s a great marriage, and I expect to see great things in the future as a result of this collaborative effort."

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