Signal Hill has long been a communications point on the Southern California landscape. In an earlier era, Native Americans signaled their brethren with fire and smoke, from Santa Catalina Island to the foothills of the Coastal Range bordering what is now L.A.

Today the signals are electronic, connecting us--at the click of a mouse--to vast, new worldwide networks.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Community Policing: One Small, Encouraging Example

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.

--- RCH


  1. When I first moved to Signal Hill my LB coworkers teased me about the police here. They said you had to be very careful because they were very strict about enforcing violations. In reality, I haven't seen any "hyper-enforcement" of traffic rules. What I have found is a very responsive, polite, caring, and helpful police force. From watching our house when we're on vacation, to helping with neighborhood issues these cops have been awesome at every turn. I have the SHPD phone number at the top of the phone list on my cell phone and frankly I sleep better at night knowing they will respond within seconds if we call.

  2. Very nice post, Richard. So important to acknowledge good behaviors, especially for people who are often maligned or misunderstood.

  3. Yes a very nice post. I would like to add if you don't mind. The teenager did go and apologize to the neighbor for his friends doing,helped her around the house, and paid for a new window. One of the SHPD officers did follow up with the teenager and parents to make sure everything was going well. I don't think many officers in LB would take the time to do that.

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your contribution to the conversation. It connects to the community policing theme, and both clarifies and gives a positive resolution to this incident.