Monday, July 21, 2008

Outta their Cars and on Foot. No sign of Dunkin' Donuts to be Found.

As Gas Prices Rise Police Return to Foot Patrols

“The average officer thinks that if they’re constantly on the move, they’re doing a better job of preventing an incident from occurring,” said Chief Ric Moss of Woodstock, Ga. “Candidly some of them have said, ‘Well, gee, you know, it’s hot out there.’ Well, if you go in that store, you’ll cool off, you’ll get to know the manager and you’ll get your presence known. We’ve had to educate them as to the benefits.”
Call me a sucker, for being led in ideological belief by a TV show, in this case the most brilliant masterpiece ever put on the small screen, The Wire, but I'm a firm believer in the return to Community-Based Policing strategies where the officer walks the streets, gets to know the people, and is a respected and integrated part of the community, rather than disconnected in their centurion like squad car and a subject to be feared, thus creating a natural opposition to the rule of law rather than a faithful adherence to a more lawful and just society. Much like war, the battle of ideas is the most important to be won.

Say goodbye to the infinite world of excess and hello to a world of poverty imposed rationality and limits:

“It’s changing the way we police,” said Chief Mike Jones of the Suwanee Police Department, who has asked his officers to walk for at least one hour of every shift. “We’re going to have to police smarter than we have in the past.”
Simply put, we just have to be smarter about everything we do sans the luxury of ignorance. But, first and foremost, we need to build a city that is more policeable, and for one, that means achieving similar levels of mobility while in foot through more walkable environments. Simply put, sprawl is unpolice-able.

Actually, I'll give a real expert the final word:

Still, some jurisdictions have resisted any notion of restricting patrols. “I have one beat alone in the northeastern division that is larger than the city of San Francisco,” said Detective Gary Hassen of the San Diego Police Department. “To say, ‘Gee, are you going to walk that?’ — it would be impossible.”

George Kelling, a professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University and a longtime proponent of community policing, said police departments that clung to their cars were missing the point.

“There are areas even in suburban areas where citizens congregate, and it seems to me that we would want to have police officers in areas where people congregate,” Professor Kelling said. “You can increase and decrease the number of police riding around in cars, and the public can’t tell the difference. You can increase the number of police out interacting with the community, and people can tell the difference very quickly.”