Police plan series of community meetings as part of switch to ‘neighborhood policing’
A planned shift in focus by the Palm Springs Police Department will start with a series of town hall-type meetings next week.
“The police spend their day pulling people out of rivers, infrequently going upstream to stop them from falling into the swift waters,” Police Chief Andy Mills wrote Monday, referencing a quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. “Palm Springs police intend to prevent those on the bank from falling in the river by implementing Neighborhood Policing and problem-solving.”
The approach, sometimes called community policing, has been around since the 1980s. It is designed to prevent crime before it happens rather than responding to crime after it occurs by encouraging both officers and community members to form closer bonds. That is often accomplished by assigning officers to always work in specific neighborhoods.
During the hour-long community meetings next week, Mills and others from the department will explain the approach, seek community input, and share data about what types of calls for service police are responding to in each neighborhood. They also plan to solicit feedback from those in attendance about what unique issues they may be facing.
Police hope the result will be a shift in focus, allowing police to spend less time scattered throughout the city and more time making “a laser-focused effort on specific problems” that they hope will reduce crime rates and increase public safety.
“Each day when our officers go into the field, they need a clearly defined focus,” Mills said. “Without a central focus, their day becomes random, call-driven, and tedious.
“Unfortunately, for too many police agencies, the radio sets the strategy. Plucking people from the river is the default strategy. Often, we are too busy saving people in the river to give serious thought to reducing crime upstream.”
The meetings, which Palm Springs City Council members will also attend, start at 4 p.m. They are planned for the following dates and places:
- February 15: Victoria Victoria Park, 2744 N. Via Miraleste
- February 16: Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros
- February 17: Cahuilla Elementary School, 833 E. Mesquite Ave.
- February 18: Palm Springs High School, 2401 E. Baristo Road
- February 19: Demuth Park, 4200 E. Mesquite Ave.
PROSECUTION RESTS: Prosecutors rested their case Monday in the trial of a Cathedral City man accused of killing four people in Palm Springs in 2019. Jose Larin-Garcia, 22, is charged with four counts of murder stemming from the shootings in which the victims, ages 17 to 25, were found dead at two separate locations. He also faces a special-circumstance allegation of committing multiple murders, opening him to a possible death sentence if convicted. On Monday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, prosecutors finished their case with testimony from Chad Eyerly, a DNA expert, who discussed DNA samples from blood found on the clothing of Larin-Garcia and how it could belong to victims of the crime. Read the complete story here.
BOOMER BOYS: The Boomer Boys Musical is making its way to Palm Springs for five performances this coming weekend, Feb. 11 through 13. Touted as a “side-splitting, tuneful and toe-tapping ‘men-of-a-certain-age’ new musical,” the show has received stellar reviews across the country. Performances are at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 11; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 12; and 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 13, at Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road. Tickets range from $33 to $58. For more information, visit www.theboomerboysmusical.com.
MIZELL CENTER: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers 18 programs and classes today, starting at 8:30 a.m. You can find a complete list of all today’s offerings online here.
ADULT CRAFTS: Adults are invited to create a simple origami heart-shaped bookmark that slips onto page corners and requires only 3 minutes to create. You can pick up a craft kit at the Palm Springs Public Library today starting at 10 a.m. (while supplies last). The kit contains several pieces of patterned origami paper and easy-to-follow instructions. You can make an appointment to pick up your kit online here. The library is located at 300 South Sunrise Way.
TAX ASSISTANCE: AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered at The Mizell Center by appointment every Tuesday through April 5. To make an appointment, call 760-323-5689, or visit the front desk. Tax-Aide is a no-cost tax filing assistance program for seniors.
TUESDAY JAZZ: Leanna & The Jazz Collective play in the VIP lounge at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 East Baristo Rd., every Tuesday evening starting at 5 p.m. There’s a two-drink minimum, and while reservations are not required, they are encouraged. You can make reservations here.
ONE-PS: The Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS) holds its monthly meeting virtually at 5:30 p.m., and you can join in. Click this link to be taken to the Zoom meeting at the time of the meeting. For more information on the organization, go here.
VILLAGEFEST BOARD: the city’s VillageFest Board meets virtually at 5:30 p.m. For complete details, click here.
SCHOOL BOARD: The Palm Springs Unified School District Board of Education holds its regular meeting at 6 p.m.at the District Administration Center,150 District Center Dr. A complete agenda is available here.
TOASTMASTERS: Toastmasters, a nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide to promote communication, public speaking, and leadership, meets virtually every Tuesday in Palm Springs starting at 6 p.m. Interested in participating? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and the Zoom link.
DESERT HIGHLAND MEETING: The Desert Highland Gateway Estates Community Action Association holds its monthly meeting virtually at 7 p.m. It is broadcast live on the association’s Facebook page here. To receive the Zoom instructions, follow the organization on Facebook and send a message there.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black history celebrations and events abound in Palm Springs and the surrounding area this month. We’ve done our best to put them all into one place. For our complete list of events, including lectures, a parade, and more, CLICK HERE.
BIKE EVENT: Registration for the annual Tour de Palm Springs, planned for Feb. 12, remains open. The event features walking and cycling routes, some as long as 100 miles, kicking off between 6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. All of the routes start and finish on South Palm Canyon Drive near Tahquitz Canyon Way. More information about the event, which draws up to 10,000 cyclists annually, can be found here.
MODERNISM WEEK: The city’s annual celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion, and culture takes place Feb. 17 through 27 at multiple locations. Modernism Week features more than 350 events, including the Modernism Show & Sale, home tours, films, lectures, double-decker architectural bus tours, and more. Tickets and additional information are available here.
‘SALTY’: Desert Ensemble Theatre continues its season at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Rd., with the California premiere of Salty, a play by AJ Clauss. Performances are February 18–20 and 25–27: The curtain goes up Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p,m,, and Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 and available at www.desertensembletheatre.org.
MID-MOD AT ART CENTER: The Desert Art Center, 550 North Palm Canyon Dr., launches its Mid-Mod Show with a Tiki -Taki Luau Reception from 4 p.m. until 6pm. on Feb. 18. Gallery artists are challenged to create their most interesting modernist spin for this show, which runs for two weekends in the Studio Gallery, Feb. 18 through 21 and 24 through 27.
‘PALM SPRINGS GETAWAY’: The next performance at Palm Canyon Theatre, 538 North Palm Canyon Dr., begins its three-weekend run on Feb. 25. Palm Springs Getaway is described as “a nostalgic romp through Palm Springs featuring the history and entertainers that made our city famous.” Tickets range from $15-$36. Complete information, including run dates, showtimes, and how to purchase tickets, can be found here.