Front Porch Roll Call was introduced by the Columbia Police Department as part of the 21st Century Policing, an initiative established from recommendations by the President’s Task Force.
The intent of the recommendations was centered on the following pillars:
To build better relationships between officers and the community.
The Front Porch Roll Call program began under a different name with citizens from the North Region of the city invited to attend designated nightly roll calls at regional headquarters, but the police found that citizens were reluctant to attend the meetings. When the police chief returned from a conference, he announced that the roll calls would be hosted by the citizens. He introduced the weekly Front Porch Roll Call in all regions of the city. The Roll Calls also serve as a small block party with food and lawn games. After socializing, 10 officers gather in the driveway of a Roll Call host and conduct nightly pre-shift roll call for the Columbia Police Department. Per the nightly routine, at 6:30 uniforms and equipment are casually checked and recent reported crimes in the area are discussed. Then each officer introduces himself or herself to the neighbors and takes questions.
In addition to roll calls, the police department has instituted Beyond the Badge. To help acclimate newly sworn in officers into the community, each officer participates in the Beyond the Badge program. The first week on the job is filled with volunteer activities such as going to the local food bank, hospital, and Meals on Wheels.
The Front Porch Roll Call program began under a different name with citizens from the North Region of the city invited to attend designated nightly roll calls at regional headquarters, but the police found that citizens were reluctant to attend the meetings. A change was made to better engage residents, by allowing citizens to host the roll calls on their front porches and neighborhood blocks. Residents sign–up via social media and the CPD website to host the daily roll calls.
Of the pillars that were initiated in July 2015, Columbia has excelled in building trust and legitimacy, and in community policing and crime reduction.
Building trust and legitimacy with the community has occurred through engagement and non-enforcement activities. The police department purchased an ice cream truck to deliver treats to neighborhood children during summer months. It also instituted “Food Truck Fridays” hosted by the police department to promote positive engagement between officers and citizens.
“It’s helped build community trust, but it’s also humanized us a little bit with the citizens and the neighborhoods.”
Timeline of Project: Since 2015
Initiator: Columbia Police Department
Additional Resources :
Front Porch Roll Calls- website
Columbia, SC– 2018 AAC Finalist: Presentation
Communications and Marketing
City of Columbia