Crime Fighting Initiative

The Meridian Police Department is launching a new DART initiative. The Direct Action Response Team will consist of five members. The group will target high crime areas.

'Our lieutenants and sergeants who are commander of each shift will notify us of problem areas where we're having the most burglaries, gunfire, the most armed robberies and that type of thing,' says MPD Chief Lee Shelbourn.'These five people will focus on that. We'll saturate those areas and try to take the guns off the streets.'

Chief Shelbourn says the DART team will replace the NET team, which was also funding by a federal grant. Although funding for that grant has ended, he says his department's commitment to community policing has not.

'What we have done is we've tried to integrate with our entire patrol to be more community friendly. So, we're asking all of our officers now to get out and talk to people to get to know who lives where and what's going on in their neighborhood.'

Headed by Assistant Chief James Sharpe, Chief Shelbourn says the DART team will not necessarily have the same officers as those who were on the NET team. He says funding for this new initiative is for one year.

'People talk about community policing, which personally I don't think should be specified. I think every officer should be community friendly.'

Members of the DART team are set to hit the streets next Wednesday.

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