STOCKTON -- The Stockton Police Department is in the national spotlight. Its officers and chief of police is getting praise in a New York Times article.
It’s a girl’s toothless grin, smiling photo opportunities, talks with the community that are part of building community-police trust within the city of Stockton.
And on Tuesday,the Stockton Police Department is getting national recognition for its efforts.
"But the fact the New York Times highlighted this and really showed Stockton as a leading agency in the country is very humbling, and we’re very proud of that," Stockton police Chief Eric Jones said.
On Tuesday, the New York Times released an op-ed article that outlined Jones’ new approaches to policing in Stockton.
The city is known for violence and its low level of trust towards law enforcement.
"I think Stockton… I think it gets a bad rep sometimes but.. um… I mean our police officers do what they can," Stockton resident Denae Blythe said.
"I thought it was great because Chief Jones doesn’t get a lot of… First of all, he doesn’t get enough attention anyway" Weston Ranch resident Richard Smith said.
The topic is timely. Recent shootings have claimed the lives of citizens and police officers throughout the nation.
"Understanding it’s a dangerous job, but it’s a calling and that means we put community before us," Jones said.
The article also outlined the department’s involvement with a pilot program funded by the Department of Justice. The National Network for Safe Communities uses criminal experts who weigh in on officer training and work to fix racial disparity.
"We also say we need to invest the most in those communities that have the lowest levels of mistrust, and that’s what we’re doing here in Stockton," Jones said.
One recent change the Stockton Police Department has made is holding events like Coffee with the Police. It’s a way for them to reach out to community members.
While there have been many positive changes in the department, Jones noted there’s still high mistrust of police officers and more walls to break down.
"This is police, community, the clergy, nonprofits -- it’s everybody coming together and breaking down those walls of divisiveness," Jones said.
Jones also admitted while there has been lots of change within the department, the city of Stockton is still considered one of the most violent in the nation. They are continuing to train their officers and listen for community feedback.