In 1993, Garland created a community police program called the Neighborhood Service Team (NST). Athough initially developed for only certain neighborhoods of the city, the NST Unit was very successful and went through several growth periods until it covered the entire city and was renamed the Neighborhood Police Officer Unit (NPO Unit).
In August of 2012, the Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) Program expanded to include responsibility for street-level narcotic activity and gang activity. The NPO Unit previously had 17 officers and 2 NPO Lieutenants. With the 2012 expansion the Unit now has:
26 officers (1 NPO for each police district)
3 NPO Lieutenants
1 NPO Captain
Each officer in the NPO Unit is assigned a particular area of the city. Within their assigned area, the officer works with patrol officers, employees from other city departments, GISD, business owners, and especially citizens to identify and assist with ongoing problems that affect the area.
Primary duties of a Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) are:
Work with Crime Watch groups, Apartment Managers, Neighborhood Associations, and other community groups within the area. The NPO will be the primary contact for these groups, providing information about ongoing crime trends, soliciting help from the community in solving problems in their neighborhoods, and encouraging and assisting neighborhoods in banding together to work with the police toward a common goal.
Identify specific crime trends within the area, formulate a strategy for addressing the offenses, coordinate and participate in the solution.
Identify and respond to specific problems within the neighborhood including repeat call locations, ongoing neighborhood disturbances, and deteriorating conditions which contribute to the overall decline of the neighborhood.
Identify and track gang members and their associates as well as aggressive enforcement of criminal offenses committed by gang members and their associates.
The NPO will also use high visibility enforcement, abatement procedures, and seizure processes to disrupt the proceeds and lifestyle of their criminal enterprise.