During the summer of 1994, the Escondido Police Department began to envision how the Department should be restructured in order to change from an incident-driven responding agency, to one which uses a community-based problem-solving approach. During 1995, several changes began to take place, as the vision of community based policing began to become a reality. The patrol staff was assigned to a fixed beat system so that the beat officers become familiar faces to the community and take ownership in the problems. Training for the employees was presented in early 1995. Problems that are received at, or identified by the Police Department, are referred out to the beat officers to analyze and develop an appropriate response.
There were many institutional changes made within the Police Department. The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) was set up to include a Sector Coordinator for each of the four sectors of the city (North, South, East, and West). We have emphasized team problem-solving by setting up sector meetings among the officers and the Sector Coordinating Officer from CSD.
In 1998, CSD began deploying the department's 40' bluebird Mobile Command Unit into neighborhoods that were experiencing a multitude of problems. The "Mobile Storefront Operation" began as a detail staffed with personnel from CSD, the Traffic Division, and Patrol Division. It was deployed once or twice a week into neighborhoods for up to six hours at a time. In 1999, the division began deploying the Mobile Storefront Operation into specific neighborhoods once a month for three days at a time. In addition to personnel from all divisions at the police department, the three-day storefront operation is staffed with officers from Code Enforcement, State Parole, County Probation, and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Escondido Police Department volunteers staff the storefront during peek hours of operations to provide bicycle licensing, child identification fingerprinting, and property engraving to the community free of charge.
The Police Department will continue to strive toward the ultimate goal of having each employee feel "responsible for approaching contacts with a helpful attitude and a desire to find a means to correct whatever the trouble might be."