KALAMAZOO, Mich– It’s more than a beat for Community Police Officer Chris Hancox.
Hancox has been has been working in downtown Kalamazoo for years, and knows that area and the people well.
“Most of them know me by name and I know them,” Hancox said. “I get calls, hey can you help me out here, or we need this taken care of.”
Several years ago, the Downtown Development Authority in Kalamazoo decided to pay for Chris’s positions, because the city could no longer afford to fund it. Now, the DDA is facing the same problem, where they don’t have enough money in their budget to fund the positions.
So what do they do? Ask people if they would donate money to keep Chris around, and they said yes.
“I think it’s essential,” said Nancy Knobloch, owner of Garden Gate Cafe. “I think it’s a fantastic idea. I think we need to keep Chris here on the Kalamazoo Mall.”
Knobloch said it’s been wonderful having Chris around to keep them safe.
“I’m someone who tends to work late hours,” Knoblock said. “Because we have orders or special events going on and I’ve always been told to call them at anytime if I’m going to leave late at night and I need someone to escort me to my car.”
The DDA raised $73,000 to fund the position in about six weeks, all through private donations. This will keep Chris patrolling downtown Kalamazoo for the rest of this year, and they’re already looking for ways to fund his position for next year too.
“I feel privileged to have the spot and that they support the spot and they took their own money to pay for the spot,” Hancox said.