PEORIA, Ariz. — Peoria police now have extra eyes and ears on the road. They recently partnered with some cab drivers to help them be on the lookout for suspicious behavior.
AAA Yellow Cab Company is the first private company that is part of the Peoria Police Department’s “Corporate Eyes and Ears Program.” The goal of the program is to reduce crime around the city by raising awareness of workers, such as cab drivers, who are on the roads every day. By improving their awareness skills, they can become better witnesses and report crime.
The training involves presentations typically lasting 30 to 40 minutes that is done in person by police officers. Employee managers then pass on the training to workers. The information can also be given in a recording shown to new employees.
“What we start with is what suspicious behavior look like,” said Peoria Police Department Commander Kenneth Gentry. “We delineate that they’re not being trained to be police officers.”
Gentry emphasized the training is to teach them how to be good witnesses and not engage in police work.
Taxi drivers learn how to look for particular people, vehicles and behaviors, he said. Drivers are then asked to report tips online or via email if the circumstance is not immediate.
A non-emergency number is also available for them to call. During an emergency, 911 can be dialed for police to immediately respond.
Stephen Hoffenberg, a recruiter at AAA Yellow Cab Company, said including their drivers in being better witnesses is something that matters to the company to keep the community safe.
“Drivers have the unique ability to be in many different places where they can see things going on,” he said. “They go to a lot of apartment buildings, housing and office buildings where police are not at all the time.”
Hoffenberg said oftentimes drivers see not only crime and suspicious behavior, but also instances of dangerous situations and safety risks.
“We see a lot of DUIs,” he said. “We have the option of reporting it and getting that driver off the road.”
The program began in 2011 by teaching city workers the skills to stay safe on the field and pass on valuable information to police that could help deter crime.
“Everyone you see in City of Peoria vehicles, whether it’s street maintenance or utilities, has been trained,” he said.
The initiative has proven successful. Most of the calls they receive allow police to respond to situations before they escalate to crime. They’ve also caught crimes in progress, according to Gentry.
Companies that agree to partner with the Peoria Police Department are given stickers for their vehicles to advertise their employees have been trained.
The Peoria Police Department hopes more private companies will come on board and join the effort. For more information on getting involved, click here.
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets