While the Northfield City Council struggles with budget cut issues, the Northfield Police Department decided to be proactive this week. It announced a program to reduce department payroll called Police yourself Thursdays.
“The success of the Community Expectations policy is what gave me the idea,” said Police Chief Marcus H. Traylor, citing the ordinance that addresses cleanliness, respect, safety, and pedestrian friendliness in the downtown area. (See the April 27, 2009 blog post for more details on that program.) “We asked citizens to behave better downtown over the past year and they’ve done it. We’re confident now that if we ask citizens to consciously avoid breaking laws just one day a week, it’ll save a significant amount of payroll dollars that will help to avoid layoffs.”
Why Thursdays? Traylor consulted with area pastors who suggested Thursdays because Wednesday nights are ‘church nights’ in the area. The ministers pointed to the impact of the ‘prayer ladies’ (see the Aug. 2007 blog post Prayer group meets at City Hall) on the improved climate at Northfield City Hall and felt that with a more comprehensive prayer effort, Northfield area crime that’s likely to happen on Thursdays could be bumped into Fridays or even the weekend.
Northfield Riverside Baptist Church pastor Cory Ellingston cautioned, however, that the impact of Northfield’s Police yourself Thursdays would have geographic limitations, not unlike the prayer ladies who attend City Council meetings. “Prayers for the City Council are just not as effective if those doing the praying are across the street or down the block,” said Ellingston. “The Dundas Police Department should not expect crime reductions in their city on Thursdays.”