New Haven Police Officers Elizabeth White and Allyn Wright have been walking the beat ever since they joined the force nearly two years ago.
“We were one of the first classes that came out under the new whole community policing concept. Right off of FTO, we started walking up in Brookside, before people even moved into Brookside,” said Officer White.
As each person moved in, the officers introduced themselves and started building relationships.
“We started off in the summer. We bought ice cream off the ice cream truck. The parents started to feel more comfortable with us. It's all through the kids,” said Officer Wright.
The officers say that focus on the children is what really solidified their place at Brookside and in Westville Manor.
“The kids have helped us a lot. It's usually easier. The kids like the police more than the adults do. Once you get a relationship with the kids and then their parents see how much they like you, the relationship you have with their children, it opens the parents up to you,” said Officer White.
Because the challenge the officers face is trying to build trust between the community and the police.
“Not everyone wants to talk to you, not everyone wants their kids around you, so it's just gaining their trust,” said Officer Wright.
It’s also about being there when they need it most. In October, a 21-year-old man was shot in front of the children on the playground at Westville Manor.
“I was on extra duty, so I came out here. He was home. We both came up,” said Officer White.
The idea is to show the neighborhood they are the two officers who Brookside and Westville Manor can count on.
“We have a great relationship with the people up there. It's nice, you feel like it's home,” said Officer White.