The City of Signal Hill Police Department has a reputation. For us residents, it is very positive, and shows the value of a small city having its own force. The "bad guys" probably have a different view.
It is no easy task to sensitively respond to citizen needs and concerns while, at the same time, being prepared and willing to use the full force of the law to protect those same citizens. Call it a delicate balancing act that especially challenges larger city police departments.
In our 20 years in Signal Hill, we've personally seen several instances where the quality of the SHPD has shone through. Today we saw another. A single woman, living by herself in our neighborhood discovered small holes in her front window pane, and began to worry.
She called the SHPD who responded within minutes to take a report. The responding officer did not dismiss her concerns as mere vandalism, but talked of the need to resolve the problem before it escalated into something worse. He took a small BB he found below the window to another neighbor up the hill, where a teenager lives. The father immediately owned-up to his son's probable vandalism, met with the woman, and resolved to make repairs and promised his son would apologize.
This is not compelling material for "Law and Order" or the evening news. It is an example of good community policing.