Police chief interacting one barber shop at a time

The force is reaching out to the community to create dialogue.

ST. PETERSBURG - Murders. Street drugs. Robberies.

The list of crimes goes on and on, and they could be happening where you live.

One Bay area police chief is tired of all the trouble and he's coming to you for help. He's reaching out to a place where people speak their minds - the barber shop.

We caught up with the Chief of Police in St. Pete at Billy’s Barber Shop.

“We’re just going in to talk to people and see what’s going on in the neighborhood, and any problems they want to be addressed,” says chief Anthony Holloway. “You hear a lot about what they have to say in a barbershop.”

The chief is doing what he calls "barber shop tours". He is hoping to visit about four or five shops a week to figure out what they can do to assist in solving problems.

“Is there anything we can help you with in your community?” he asked customers at the shop.

“How are we doing on the homeless people?” one customer responded.

“We’ve seen a reduction in it ,so we’re trying to make contact with them and ask what we can do to help,” Holloway responded.

“You’re hearing their concerns here. So how do you fix them?” we asked.

“I get with my staff once a week and say 'This is what they are talking about' and figure how to address them,” said Hollway. “Nine out of 10 times when someone calls the police it’s to solve a problem. Let’s switch it around so they get to know us.”

“This is a friendly look and we want to get to know you and be part of the team. I think you’re doing a great job,” said another customer.

The chief says this is a way to hear what young men are talking about in the community, as it may not be something they would talk about to a cop out on the streets.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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