Partnership between police, housing authority pays off

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 30, 2002

An innovative partnership between the Selma Housing Authority and local law enforcement personnel is paying big benefits in lower crime and a higher quality of life for residents.

According to SHA director Johnny Moss, &uot;It has made the residents feel safer and enabled us to market our properties.&uot;

The program encourages police officers to reside in the SHA’S public housing system.

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The program began in 1989 when the SHA partnered with the Selma Police Department to reduce criminal activity in public housing.

Then began a foot patrol by SPD and Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputies through the SHA.

Shortly thereafter the SHA opened three precincts, one each in the George Washington Carver, Rangedale and Phoenix Heights apartment complexes, where residents are able to call for help at any time.

The officers also perform what is called a &uot;drug detail,&uot; in which they drive through public housing areas making sure that there is no drug peddling going on.

The Police Initiative Act passed in Congress has allowed the SHA to allow police officers to reside in the public housing system at minimal cost in turn for their protection.

Currently there seven officers from the SPD and Dallas County Sheriff’s office living in SHA. The officers respond to calls inside the complexes, ranging from disturbances to speeding.

The manager at the Rangedale complex, Ima Jean Peoples, said, &uot;When you call on the officer, his response is immediate.&uot;

Latonya McNeil, president of the resident council at GWC said, &uot;Crime is at a very low level.&uot;

The partnership has benefitted both the SHA and the police department, as well as the city and the county. The SHA has 613 units of public housing, 1,075 section 8 homes, and 120 unit developments. The SHA houses 28 percent of Selma’s population.