Falmouth District Court Probation Officers participate in a unique version of the Operation NightLight Program which the Probation Department and local police have dubbed the Probation/Police Community Protection Patrol or simply PPCPP.
This community supervision program is based on the original Operation NightLight Program established in the 1990’s by Boston Municipal Court (BMC)-Dorchester Probation Officers. The PPCPP, however, has a rather unique twist to addressing issues specific to Cape Cod, a resort area which has a transitory population, said Robert Teixeira, Falmouth District Court Chief Probation Officer.
Under Teixeira’s leadership, Probation Officers are assigned to specific geographic locations in the court’s jurisdiction where they immerse themselves in the culture and goings-on of the community to familiarize themselves with probationers, their families, and acquaintances. The PPCPP debuted in Bourne and has now expanded to Falmouth and Mashpee.
“Our court deals with issues specific to transient populations. Many offenders move here from other areas of the state or out-of –state to reinvent themselves. Also, seasonal unemployment-- especially during the winter months—is a major concern and often leads to criminal behavior,” said Teixeira.
He added, “One of the greatest benefits to this collaboration with the police is the ongoing exchange of information on these individuals between two branches of law enforcement which in the past had operated very much independently. Now, we are exchanging invaluable offender information on an ongoing basis.”
As part of these joint patrols, Probation Officers and police officers join forces to make unannounced home visits to high-risk offenders in unmarked cruisers.
“The message we are communicating is that both agencies are working together to enforce court-ordered probation conditions,” Teixeira said. “The patrols have allowed us to communicate an invaluable message to the offender that they can no longer operate on the assumption that we’re not talking to each other.”
Teixeira further commented, “Although we coordinate together how best to hold offenders accountable, we try to do so in a non-confrontational approach which has enabled us to actually generate much better information and cooperation. Recently, this approach has enabled us to extend our community supervision efforts as we implement warrant apprehension strategies whereby we seek to have offenders resolve outstanding warrants without the need for an arrest.”
Bourne Police Department Lieutenant Richard Tavares said the police department was able to track down an individual with several warrants who had previously avoided arrest. Police had an old address for the man. By happenstance, they found him at the address of another offender.
“By working together, we were able to clear up a warrant. The partnership works quite well. It is definitely a program worth continuing,” Tavares added.
Captain Edward Dunne of the Falmouth Police Department described the partnership as “outstanding” and lauded the sharing of information between Probation and police.
“The program is working very well. It gives our officers information on just who is in our town. There is great communication going back and forth. It is a great tool that benefits both Probation and us,” Dunne said.
Mashpee Police Detective Sergeant Scott Carline said of the probation/police partnership, “It’s been a great working relationship. In fact, there is a Probation Officer who is actively assisting us with a case.”
Also as part of this special partnership with the local police, Falmouth District Court Probation is increasing its warrant apprehension initiatives.
“Our partnership with police in the three towns is one that is valued,” Teixeira said. “The Geographic-Specialization is so important for the work we do in the community.”