COPPS Program

C.O.P.P.S.The South San Francisco Police Department would like you to know about the approach we are taking in handling problems within the City - "Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving" or "COPPS". Community oriented policing in itself has been around for years and is not so much a program as it is a philosophy or a frame of mind.

The Police Chief and his staff have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to this approach which emphasizes community involvement and the use of non-traditional methods for solving problems on the streets, in our businesses, and in our neighborhoods and schools.

All Police Department employees are taking the community policing approach with them to the streets in an effort to minimize crime and bring the members of the community into the problem-solving picture. The face of police work has slowly changed over the years and police officers can no longer be viewed only as the enforcers of the law. We are making the transition to being facilitators of community involvement as part of a police/citizen team; working together to achieve a safe and desirable community in which to work and live.

In the past, handling crime suppression was performed by meeting with the complainant, obtaining the necessary information, and trying to catch the responsible. Community resources were not normally used in the process. Often times, the problem would resurface and another officer would respond to the call and handle it much the same way. Community skepticism and mistrust would sometimes enter the picture at this point when this "traditional" method of enforcement was ineffective.

With the community policing mindset, officers have greater latitude in handling problems that occur on their assigned beats. More creative solutions - including involving the community as our eyes and ears - have helped to reduce repeat crimes and on-going problems in certain situations. Officers are also working together and communicating with their beat counterparts to make sure that problems which occur on one shift are not happening at another time.

Patrol officers have also gone to the public to stop community blight from overtaking certain areas. Property owners - from apartment buildings to shopping centers - have been called upon to keep their property in good condition. The City's Code Enforcement Officers get involved if there is continued non-compliance.

To assist in this community anti-blight effort, the COPPS Officer administers a juvenile diversion program called Project N.E.A.T. (Neighborhood Enhancement Action Teams) where juvenile first offenders meeting certain criteria attend mandatory counseling sessions, and work all day on a Saturday painting out graffiti, picking up trash, performing weed abatement, or any other reasonable task that would enhance the beauty of the City. For details about the program, see the Project NEAT page or call (650) 829-3931.