To combat shooting violence, what’s old is new again in Daytona Beach

PD’s most powerful policing tool: Park, Walk and Talk

Within weeks of former Daytona Beach Deputy Chief Jakari Young’s appointment to Chief of Police, shooting violence exploded across his city.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Within weeks of former Daytona Beach Deputy Chief Jakari Young’s appointment to Chief of Police, shooting violence exploded across his city.

Six shootings injured nine people and killed four, including a teenager on a basketball court that was fighting over a girl.

The newly-promoted Chief decided immediately to recommit to connecting with the community: :

Jakari Young had only been the newly-appointed Daytona Beach Police Chief for a few weeks when shooting violence exploded in his city last November.

[RELATED: ‘I’m not accepting that:’ Daytona Beach police chief begins tackling recent homicides]

He brought back a staple of community policing: Park, Walk and Talk.

“To me it’s a very simple concept because we already have something that’s recognized by dispatch called the Park and Walk,” Young said. “I just added ‘Talk’ on the end. Let’s make this a conscious effort. Let’s be intentional about getting out of the car, walking the neighborhood, walking into businesses and getting to know the people in your Zone.”

Young has ordered all patrol officers to spend at least 30 minutes of every shift walking and talking and has asked all 230 officers department-wide to do the same as often as possible.

“My philosophy and belief is community policing is everybody’s responsibility,” Young said. “We’re all supposed to be doing that.”

Young said patrol officers should look for opportunities to engage with people.

“You know what, there’s a group of kids over there shooting hoops, I got time, there are no calls holding, let me get out and shoot hoops with the kids,” Young said. “Or I recognize this elderly lady sits on her porch every day, let me go find out what her name is. Because when something does happen it’s amazing how quickly people will come and give you information if they know you. Let’s get back to our basics at our core, just get out in the community. Let them see that we’re human beings and we are no different than they are.”

Patrol Sgt. Robert Ransom, a 29-year veteran of the Daytona Beach Police Department, said the Chief started Park, Walk and Talk at an intersection when he noticed several young men were staring at him.

“By the time we got out of the car, they were all half a block down and he [Chief Young] yelled at them, is something going on?” Ransom said. “They kept on walking, nobody wanted to acknowledge his presence. And he knew they were probably up to no good that’s why they were looking at him so hard. And that’s when he said, you know what, this is where I’m going to start, this is Ground Zero for us reconnecting with a community, bringing back the old community policing philosophy and re-engaging.”

Ransom said reconnecting with the community is already getting results - tips helped catch two of the four suspected murderers and led to an arrest warrant for a third.

“We’re not looking to disrupt the community, we’re looking to intertwine with it, and build a strong mesh relationship,” Ransom said. “We need their participation, we need them to tell us, hey, this is what’s going on and is where it’s happening. We can only see and observe so much.”

Sgt. Ransom said Chief Young believes Park, Walk and Talk is the most effective policing tool the department has right now, more effective than any piece of technology available to them.

About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.