The Westgate Project is a revolution in community action and service delivery that supports community oriented policing with a more comprehensive network of community resources for sustainable development in distressed neighborhoods.
This platform commissions vast partnerships from all levels of community and across civic platforms, bringing those partnerships under the direction of grassroots community based leadership forming the Westgate Community Coalition.
A constitution of memorandums of understanding gives this coalition its fabric and its function. That constitution of understandings is The Westgate Agreement, maintaining the name of the first documented understanding between Greenville NC’s West Greenville Community and its West Zone Police establishes that if any young adult is apprehended in the West Greenville Community by police, the name will be transferred to a list that is reported at regular intervals by the police department to the Westgate Coalition. In exchange the Westgate Coalition will coordinate criminal diversion and rehabilitative services for the individual, the family, and the environment of issue. This inaugural understanding that would call for one community to step forward and care for one of its most vulnerable populations highlighted the demand and provided the blueprint for a series of partnerships to follow.
Why was community policing chosen as the crux of development? After a review of the vast number of service agencies assigned to any community, no agency is found that employs sufficient manpower to perform daily outreach in any area. Police are deployed often and in large numbers to work in distressed areas, and more specifically trained to identify young people falling through the cracks. Making policing the outreach arm of a community would require no new agency hires and no additional payroll in serving a community. There would only need to be some modification to the expectation of police service and some reorganizing of community support services applied to the formula, and a police deploy could serve as true outreach for a community in need, and still be positioned to deal with any escalation that might arise. They would do what they’ve always done, just with some help from some very intentional partners – The Westgate Community Coalition. Policing is already undergoing a facelift and moving towards community policing, making the opportunity prime.
The Coalition begins with mentoring as the outreach piece that meets a young person in trouble. This is often a point of extreme conflict between a young adult and a society’s institutions in general. Any proposed support coming from an institutional agent at this crucial point might be rejected by the person in need. The goal of the Westgate Mentors would be to establish the initial relationship, becoming a necessary ally to help the person in need form better connections to the more institutionalized opportunities and resources available.