The primary reason for holding beat community meetings is for beat officers and the community to engage in joint problem solving. Therefore, it is critical that the meeting room be conducive to these activities.
Here are some guidelines to consider as you work with beat team members to establish a good meeting environment:
Whenever possible, the meeting should be held in a location on the beat, with convenient parking nearby. The location should be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Some beats have found that holding their meetings in the same location, on the same day each month (for example, the second Tuesday), can ensure a steady core of community participants. Other beats, however, have found that moving their meetings around helps attract new community members.
The meeting place should be one that residents are comfortable coming to.
The room should be large enough to comfortably accommodate all participants.
Seating should be arranged to encourage discussion by all those present. Movable chairs, arranged in a horseshoe pattern, are ideal.
Discussion of problems should include both residents and police.
A flip chart, chalkboard or other mechanism for recording the group's problem identification or analysis should be available.