Thursday, July 18, 2013
Police in south Wichita say they've found a way to gain trust in the community while cracking down on crime. The crime fighting tool? Walking.
Wichita police use a lot of tools and technology to fight crime, but with a big city to cover and thousands of crimes reported a year, the tool they most rely on is probably their patrol car.
“Unless you're dispatched to a call or something like that you're going to be in your car most of the time,” Officer Joey Husen said.
Some Wichita police officers in Patrol South are trying out a simpler, more traditional type of patrol and the only tool they need is a good pair of shoes.
“Police officers have walked for as long as there have been police officers,” Captain Max Tenbrook said.
Walking the beat is a simple concept, but the officers we spoke with say it gets results.
“I mean it was like day and night the comparison,” Officer Cornell Payne said.
Officers Cornell Payne and Joey Husen say just by getting our their car, all of a sudden they were more approachable. By striking up a conversation, the officers say they earn people's trust which helps them catch more criminals.
“People would be able to identify houses they thought were drug houses and we'd be able to look into them and do surveillance on them,” Officer Husen said.
The officers say another benefit to ditching their cars is they can be a lot sneakier.
“People weren't looking for police officers on foot they were usually looking for us in a car,” Officer Husen said.
Police rolled out their walking beat this spring as a kind of test run. They say they made several new cases, several arrests, and a lot of community contacts. They plan to break out the patrol again full force this fall once it's a little cooler for the officers who have to walk.