Monday, October 22, 2012
Back in the old days, before police cars, officers walked a foot beat. Walking a foot beat is still a good idea. It is the best way to learn a neighborhood and to learn about the people who live and work there. A foot beat officer needs to have a base of operations. If the foot beat is permanent, it can be a small closet sized office near the middle of the beat. It should have light, heat, air conditioning, water, a restroom and computer to write reports and a phone. It does not have to be large, it can be just large enough for a couple desks, a 12 x12 area is enough.
While on patrol the officer should carry two sets of handcuffs and ideally should work in a pair with another officer. They should have extra ammunition, perhaps four magazines each rather than two. They should walk into every open business as they walk by and say hello to each business owner or employee. Over time you can find out their concerns, learn about the crime trends in the area and offer information on how to avoid crimes or how businesses can respond to crimes.
Officers should contact all the private security guards that work in their beat. They should learn if the guards are armed and get a general idea of their training and area of responsibility. Officers should learn the layout of each of the businesses. Where the back doors are and where they lead to. Learn the back alleys and short cuts. Patrol not only the store fronts, but the dark corners and places where gang members and juveniles might congregate. Foot patrol is a different kind of a patrol, but a helpful type of patrol; that’s what the SGT Says.