- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2013

Massachusetts police are taking a page from the U.S. military’s playbook and bringing counterinsurgency tactics used in Iraq to Springfield streets to fight gangs.

They’re mostly using community building, Raw Story reported. And one man on Fox News on Monday who said he’s been robbed 55 times said it’s working. The counterinsurgency tactics have slowed the tide of gang-related crime.

CBS News reported that the tactics have led to a drop in violent crime in Springfield’s most crime-ridden areas by 25 percent since 2012 and a decrease in drug arrests by 50 percent. The tactics were put into effect after Mike Katone, a returning soldier and Springfield police officer, pitched a plan to superiors for the need to take the best of war-zone counterinsurgency tactics and put them on civilian streets.

“Insurgents and gang members both want to operate in a failed area — a failed community or a failed state,” he said, on CBS. “They know they can live off the passive support of the community, where the local community is not going to call or engage the local police.”

His idea entailed the creation of a special team with a mission of building community relationships. The mission meant they would have to go door-to-door, speaking to residents and striking friendships, Mr. Katone said.

High-ranking officers were initially skeptical. But the statistics have spoken loudly.

“If the government is not going to do it, and individuals are not going to do it, why can’t police partner up with the community and say, ‘Hey, here’s a plan. This is what we want to do to help.’ Because the status quo of traditional policing, it just ain’t gonna work,” he said in the CBS report.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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