Cops and your community. Tampa Police are hiring 15 more officers so they can focus on specific neighborhoods and really get to know the people who live there. It's more about preventing crime than fighting it.
Officer Bob Barrett drives these same streets every day. He knows the faces and the places that make this neighborhood tic. But it's when he gets out of that patrol car and starts walking the streets of Ybor City that things start to click. Officer Barrett knows many of the people he see on the street and often they greet each other like longtime friends.
"This has been my neighborhood for the better part of 10 years. So if you've been here for any length of time you probably at least know me by face, if not by name, if not by nickname.. everybody's got a name for me," says Barrett.
Barrett says he's made real connections with the people who live and work in Ybor City, and they like having him around.
Geo Bunjaku owns a pizza place on 7th Avenue. "A cop car when it drives by.. it's just whatever.. it just drives, but when you have a presence... it's a big presence when you see a police officer."
Barrett says adding 15 more officers to do what he does really will make Tampa a better place. "That means I can focus more so on a smaller area, because I know another officer can maybe take on another neighborhood."
The 15 new officers are being paid for with a $1.9 dollar federal grant, specifically to focus on community policing.