Every Sunday, since July 2014, weather permitting, Public Safety Chief Mike Butler and Dan Benavidez take a walk around Longmont, visiting different neighborhoods. The goal of this walk is to meet the people of Longmont, get to know its residents and to share a sense of belonging.
In all the years that these two men have been visiting Longmont’s neighborhoods, they have met approximately 3,000 people in over 170 neighborhoods. “We walk mostly mobile home parks, apartment complexes and high-density housing,” states Chief Butler.
It is not uncommon for the duo to invite others to join them in their walk. For the September 9, Belonging Revolution neighborhood walk, Deputy Chief of Public Safety Jeff Satur, and Jakob Satur joined the walk.
The following are the comments made by each party:
What a difference just a couple of neighborhood blocks make! On Sunday August 26th we walked in the meth infested not nice neighborhood just about 3 blocks from our walk this Sunday. This Sunday all we met on this walk were very, very happy campers so to speak. They loved their neighborhood, loved their neighbors they felt safe did not even lock their cars and had no issues with our City. They loved living in Longmont. And how great it is that the Longmont Chief of Public Safety Mike Butler and Deputy Chief of Public Safety Jeff Satur, and Jakob Satur were right down there with them in their door steps being invited into their homes and telling and sharing with them that they belong!
And the Latino neighbor we met who speaks very, very, little English and who has lived in Longmont for 20 years has never felt discriminated against and loves living here in Longmont. And Mike, Jeff and Jakob assured him that he and his other Latino neighbors and friends BELONG in Longmont!
And I am so contented in that I really feel I can converse with our Latino neighbors not only because I speak the Spanish language, but I am blessed in that I know the Latino culture being Latino, however, I also have for decades been and spent much time with the people in all the States of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and other Spanish speaking countries including Spain.
One can learn the Spanish Language but not knowing the culture one may not get a true feeling of what they are saying and sharing with you, so speaking and sharing with them culture wise if you will is ever so important. And I do get back that our Latino neighbors LOVE LONGMONT!!
Two walks ago, we visited a neighborhood in which the concerns about methamphetamine were apparent. We chose to walk an adjoining neighborhood this Sunday to determine if the drug issues flowed into this neighborhood. Indeed, it had not. Thanks to Jeff and his lovely son, Jakob, for joining us.
My comments will try to capture my impressions of our neighborhood Sunday walks and the talks with those we met over the last four plus years…
Many of those we met were good for our complexion; we would often break out into smiles.
We can remember so many people we met in which we did not want the conversations to end until they could teach us the music that flowed beneath their skin.
We encountered people who painted pictures in our own minds with colors we didn’t know were there.
We were able to occasionally offer people some of our own sageness in letting them know they were not given wings merely to see the world from the ground.
Dan was so wonderful in giving people, especially children, the sun knowing that they would grow tall.
Sometimes we would find people who were mad at the pace of the world but as we talked, we could see how the world would slow its spin for them.
We chronicled the stories (including photographs) of thousands of people we met hoping our prose would let them live forever.
We would meet people occasionally who thought they did not matter but, before we would part, they were encouraged to believe they had a brush in their hand, a heart full of colors, and a lifetime of canvases.
When we asked people to believe their voices counted, we could see the magic in which people became brave enough to ask questions in which they had the right to know the answers.
We had many conversations with so many special people in our community that created indescribable moments perhaps not meant to be fully understood; so for now it’s best that we just call them miracles.
AND… with every moment spent in our neighborhoods, we became a little more sure that anything wonderful, including a BELONGING REVOLUTION, is possible.
Longmont Deputy Chief of Public Safety Jeff Satur:
Today, Sunday Sept 9th, we walked the Grandview Meadows Apartment Complex, which is west of Peck Dr., and south of Nelson Rd. This was a follow up walk for Mike and Dan, as they had walked the Apartment complex east of Peck Rd., a couple of weeks prior. I enjoyed my walk and talking with the residents. What I found was a sense of belonging and a sense of responsibility for their neighborhood and apartment complex. Each, almost as if they had a script, talked about how everyone in the complex watched out for each other, for the property and for the kids. They spoke kindly of their neighbors, the cleanliness of the complex and highly of their maintenance workers and the complex managers. I too found the complex to be clean and well maintained.
As a police department, when neighbors feel responsible for the people who live near them, watch out for each other, keep their buildings, homes and apartments in repair that it can have positive effect on crime and safety. We heard this message today and it appears to be holding true in Grandview Meadows.
I’d also like to make a shout out to John. I enjoyed our tour of your home, and was amazed by your art work and wood work. Go Browns – Go Broncos.
I thought this walk through the Grandview Meadow Apartments was great. All the people we contacted were very friendly. Everybody said great things about the Grandview Meadow Apartments and their neighbors. They said people watch out for each other, keep an eye on the kids, and they had low crime. Somebody said that a car may occasionally get broken into, but he leaves his car unlocked in this community and has never had it broken into.
They all have had great experiences with Longmont PD., and thought they were treated well. People liked the maintenance workers and thought they did a great job. They kept the areas clean, they were quick to fix things and thought if something is broken it gets fixed very quick. They also liked that they watched the parking lots and if a vehicle did not belong, workers had it towed.
My overall impression of the Grandview Meadow Apartments is that it is an overall great neighborhood.