Dover Housing Authority Liaison Officer Jason Feliciano (right) poses with former liaison officer Bobby Joslin and some of the participants in the 2014 Dover Housing Authority Bike Parade.
The Dover Housing Authority’s Police Liaison Program puts a police officer at the large public housing facility at Mineral Park. This officer plans community programs, youth programs, crime prevention initiatives and generally responds to incidents and problems in that neighborhood – often intervening before a call to the police department’s dispatch center is initiated.
This housing complex has over 300 children and is one of the largest of its type in the State of New Hampshire. The police officer works out of a police sub-station within the neighborhood and is responsible for the following duties:
- Routine foot, bicycle and vehicle patrol
- Preliminary and follow-up investigation of crime
- Conducting neighborhood watch meetings and planning other crime prevention/safety programs
- Support and joint planning of programs with the DHA Residents Council (e.g. Bike Parade/Field Day/Red Ribbon Week activities)
- Teach DARE at the Dover Middle School
- Plan activities and events that instill community pride and involve the residents in their community (e.g. Christmas Parade Float / neighborhood clean up)
- Assist the staff at the community center in presenting various neighborhood programs (e.g. drug prevention programs, parent classes)
The DHA Neighborhood Officer Program was the Dover Police Department's initial experiment with the community policing approach and has proven very successful. Since the Neighborhood Officer Program was instituted in 1989, it has achieved the following:
- Virtually eliminated the wide open and flagrant sale of illegal drugs. Although illegal drugs are still present at the DHA, dealers and users have been forced to be much more careful and the overall drug problem has clearly been reduced. Information provided to the neighborhood officer by residents has been instrumental in directing undercover investigations and is directly responsible for several arrests for drug dealing by the Dover Police Department and the Drug Task Force.
- A palatable increase in the neighborhood's sense of security and pride. The playground equipment was fixed by a group of residents has remained remarkably free of vandalism. Flowers have appeared in front of many homes.
- Serious crime, such as burglary, has been greatly reduced.
- In a joint Police Department - DHA project, a grant was received to build a baseball field at the DHA. This grant (combined with local donations of equipment, supplies and funds) resulted in a facility that was dedicated in the summer of 1994. The facility is used to conduct youth athletic activities at the DHA and as part of the Police Department's overall community outreach effort.
- The Dover Police - DHA Neighborhood Officer Program won the first place award in 1991 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for "Quality of Life Improvement". This program is widely used by HUD authorities in this region as a model for other public housing facilities.
- This program also won the 1992 National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials "Merit Award" for outstanding achievement in housing and community development.