COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - The Columbia Police Department is working to go beyond the badge and connect with its residents.
Jessica Bowman took a look at what new Chief Michael Kelly is implementing in the next few months in the city.
"I think it's a good chance for people to get to know the police officers and we even have some of the fire department here," Mark Rogers said.
Mark Rogers welcomed first responders and residents in the community to his front porch as he hosted the first-ever Front Porch Gathering on behalf of the Columbia Police Department.
"The folks, in general, don't know them and when they arrive at their houses, Rogers said. "They kind of need to get to know the officers and the chief."
Officers and command staff of the Columbia Police Department kicked off the first ever community gathering in an effort to connect with residents. Volunteer Community Engagement Coordinator for the police department, Jeni Southerland said this is a time for residents to voice their concerns, talk about patrol issues, or give praise to the officers.
"Chief Kelly has been in office for 14 weeks now," Jeni Southerland said. "Part of his new idea for the city of Columbia we are going to be implementing a lot of community policing procedures. Which basically, is the reason for things like this, the Front Porch Gathering. It allows our officers to know who they are serving and also our community to know who their officers are."
"I love having events like this it's kind of fun, Rogers said. "My late wife and I always had big cookouts under our car porch and things like that. It's nothing new for me to have a lot of these folks here. I'm glad to be able to host the first one out in one of the neighborhoods."
Southerland said they have several more events planned for the coming months.