Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo and the Rome Police Department should be recognized for their ongoing efforts to engage and include the community through a return of a pair of initiatives.
As sure a sign of spring as a red-breasted robin, the return of the annual Walk with the Mayor neighborhood program is an important and productive mechanism of good municipal government.
These walks, in which Izzo and a gathering of her department heads, from Code Enforcement to Public Safety to Public Works, are a valuable tool to gain insight into the problems and concerns of residents in specific sections of the city. It is also a means for residents to not just share their concerns, but also to initiate change and help be an agent to rectify these problems.
By understanding the problems first hand and in addressing them at this fundamental level, the process helps create for both municipal officials and local residents a framework to not just monitor situations moving forward but a means to work through to help ensure that such issues do not resurface.
Likewise, it shows that municipal officials realize they need to be “on the ground” and in the neighborhood, meeting residents where they are and witnessing these issues and concerns for themselves.
It shows value, not just in the process, but in our neighborhoods and in residents themselves.
Likewise, the Rome Police Department’s Community Impact Unit (CIU) operates in a similar vein, bridging the gap between the police officers and the public they serve.
The CIU initiative, which harkens back to a return of the days of the beat cop on foot patrol, helps officers and residents connect in a shared purpose — to maintain safe and peaceful neighborhoods, stem blight and decay and to improve and enhance the quality of life in these neighborhoods and in our community.
Neither initiative is easy. Both take effort, coordination and a desire to foster interaction — sometimes uncomfortable but necessary interaction — to bring about meaningful resolutions. It requires the building of relationships and a genuine desire to work together toward achieving shared results.
Not every issue has a speedy resolution, but open communication is often among the first steps to address some of the more complex and difficult issues impacting our neighborhoods.
Our hope is that residents embrace these opportunities to raise questions, share concerns, seek solutions and be active participants in these ongoing public improvement and public safety efforts.