At GPD, policing is a partnership
Area students are familiar with school resource officers who provide safety and guidance in the learning environment, but often that accustomed affiliation is not shared in the broader community. As schools close and summer begins, the Greer Police Department is encouraging residents to acquaint themselves with their area patrol officers.
“We have had officers assigned to areas for a long time, however we refocused it last summer to have sergeants become more involved with their areas and make the officers more responsible for problem areas,” said Lt. Jimmy Holcombe.
The patrol areas are divided into four wedges intersecting at Poinsett and Main streets downtown. Sergeants Patrick Fortenberry, Kris Ahler, Mixon Eldridge, and Jeff Smith lead the community outreach. Each sergeant acts as the main contact for the area and oversees a team of officers. A map of each location along with contact information can be found on the Greer Police Department’s Facebook page–a tool that the department is utilizing more, along with Twitter, to keep the public informed of criminal activity.
The officers walk the neighborhoods, attend community meetings, host the Citizens Police Academy, and visit businesses as part of the outreach. In turn, to further the relationship, civilians can become involved with the police department’s programs and neighborhood watch groups.
The sergeants also encourage residents to take proactive measures to help prevent becoming victims. People should remove personal belongings such as G.P.S. units, firearms, and pocketbooks from vehicles, or not leave them in sight, and lock vehicles to reduce the chance of property crime. Securing yard items in a garage is another proactive measure.
“I really think (the community outreach) is beneficial to everyone. The public has a point of contact when they see something going on in their neighborhood and they give us multiple eyes out in the city,” Holcombe said.
“We cannot be everywhere, so when people become involved and let us know when something is going on, it allows us to respond more quickly.”
North of West Poinsett St. and Wade Hampton Blvd. and west of Main Street including Lake Cunningham and Lake Robinson areas.
Sgt. Patrick Fortenberry
Years at GPD: 19 ½
FTO Jeff Hemric email@example.com
FTO Christopher Montgomery firstname.lastname@example.org
FTO James Sharratta email@example.com
Off. Paul Ward firstname.lastname@example.org
Biggest challenge: Property crimes such as auto breakings, larcenies, and burglaries, which represent 49 percent of calls for service since Dec. 19, 2014.
“Policing is truly a partnership in the City of Greer. The GPD is fortunate to have citizens who believe in this concept as much as the department does. I would encourage all citizens to take ownership of the areas in which they live. By this I mean to report suspicious behavior to the Police Department when they see it because they know who belongs in their neighborhoods and who does not.”
North of East Poinsett St. and Wade Hampton Blvd. and east of Main Street extending to Gap Creek Road
Sgt. Kris Ahler
Years at GPD: 10
Off. Saunders email@example.com
Off. Santana firstname.lastname@example.org
Off. Queen email@example.com
Off. Wise firstname.lastname@example.org
Biggest challenge: Fostering partnerships with the community and gaining buy in with “policing is a partnership.”
“Patrol officers have extensive contact with residents and visitors…Residents can help by providing accurate and timely information about criminal activity and concerns within the community, participating in police department meetings, and by embracing the belief that all citizens should be concerned with public safety. Residents can assist by reporting suspicious activities, securing high theft items such as G.P.S. units, firearms, pocketbooks, and by becoming involved with their public safety teams.”
South of West Poinsett St. and Wade Hampton Blvd. and west of Main Street including the Riverside community
Sgt. Mixon Eldridge
Years at GPD: 20
Cpl. Wilson email@example.com
FTO Young firstname.lastname@example.org
FTO Sharratta email@example.com
Off. Prino firstname.lastname@example.org
Off. Ward email@example.com
FTO Keller firstname.lastname@example.org
Biggest challenge: The size and amount of neighborhoods in the area.
“My function is to partner with my Area 3 residents and businesses and identify issues that affect the quality of life for the City of Greer. Once the problem is identified I then come up with ideas with help from the Area 3 officers and the community of the best way to address the issue...My area residents can help with not being afraid to call and report problems no matter how small. They can also help with coming up with solutions to the problems we identify.”
South of Poinsett St. and east of Main St. including south of the airport and BMW
Sgt. Jeff Smith
Years at GPD: 21
Off. Barnett email@example.com
Off. Santana firstname.lastname@example.org
Off. Wingard email@example.com
Off. Mainor firstname.lastname@example.org
Biggest challenge: Sprawling growth in the southern part of the city; increase in construction site thefts.
“I have several community contacts with many residents in my area and the greatest thing that I can attribute that to is the trust that has been built between the community members and our officers.”
If you do not know the patrol officer for your area, call Pene Ellis at 877-7906.