NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Bringing back community policing in New Haven has been the chief's mission since he was sworn in this year and on Friday, he formally announced the department has been taking things a step further to help solve crime.
Earlier this week, police were able to track down all three suspects in the Burger King drive-thru shooting on Whalley Avenue. Chief Dean Esserman credited the community with trusting the police.
He believes making house calls to victims' families following these crimes will mean more crimes solved.
"The community is your back up when you need help," Esserman said.
Chief Esserman said the scene on Whalley Avenue Monday is a prime example of witnesses, even family members of suspects, helping them solve a crime.
"What they saw was everybody treated with dignity and respect," he said. "What they saw was a department that showed compassion."
Now the chief is announcing his next step in community policing, having officers make house calls and stop by the homes of any crime victims a day or so after.
Yashica Bradley's son Anthony Marquis Holmes was shot while riding his bike in front of his grandmother's Hotchkiss Street home around midnight last August. He was just 20. She says for months, she heard little from police.
"It still hurts everyday cause I still have to explain it to my younger ones," she said.
She applauds Esserman's community policing efforts.
"They're catching them a lot quicker," she said.
But, she wishes these house calls were made when she needed them.
"A lot more families will have closure sooner rather than later," she said.
Esserman says they started making house calls about two months ago. Bradley says that's right about the time she started hearing from police about her son's murder. In fact, she got a call on Friday.
"No new leads, but he's still working on it and that's good to know," she said. "That was my son and I would like to know they're still working on it."
"This is the other part of the job, check up on you," Esserman said. "We want to take the initiative."
Esserman says every single officer, including himself, will be walking the neighborhoods. In fact, there will be an additional 41 officers by the end of the year.
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