Sunday, November 13, 2016

Investment in social capital pays dividends

For some police officers, raising social capital is as simple as not ticketing a resident for a minor infraction. Educating the offender about the local ordinance can sometimes be more helpful in the long run than fining him. 

Walterboro residents have no doubt benefited from town officials who put social capital in the bank. But recently those same residents got to read about social capital, too.

That’s because an Uptown column written by Walterboro mayor and Municipal Association President Bill Young was picked up by his hometown paper. As Mayor Young described it, social capital is “the value created by the networks that connect similar people and build bridges between diverse people.

Clemson Police Chief Jimmy Dixon described some of the same ideas in another Uptown article, Accumulating social capital for a rainy day.”

"It’s only a matter of time before bad things happen. We don’t want it to happen. We are a safe community, but we’re not immune to it," he said. "You want support so when the hard times hit, people know you’ll do everything humanly possible to solve it.”

Social capital can have other, unexpected benefits. For instance, cities and towns may discover that banking some social capital even helps with public safety recruitment efforts. 

"The way a particular agency treats people in the community every day—if they take time to talk to people and treat them with empathy—it pays dividends in a lot of different ways," said Jack Ryan with the Public Agency Training Council during at session at this summer's Annual Meeting.

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