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by Peter Moskos

December 10, 2008

Foot Patrol

Whenever people say there aren't enough officers for foot patrol, I say, "hogwash" (or something with similar meaning). We used to have foot patrol. And we didn't have more police. It's a question of priorities, not resources. Here's a interesting diagram from 1911.

I don't know if this was the theory, the practice, or a proposal. And perhaps standing in the middle of the intersection isn't the best strategy. But it's still very interesting to see. (Plus those old hand-drawn diagrams have style!)

Basically foot patrol was replaced with making officers available to answer 911 calls. Too bad former is much better than the latter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Basically, as you've hinted elsewhere, departments should designate some officers as rapid response officers (a relative few) and others(more)as neighborhood officers. I think the neighborhood officers should probably have access to cars, but ideally, they would park them at strategic areas (fire stations, schools, commercial areas)and walk for much of the shift. Your prior suggestion that these officers respond to calls on an appointment basis is also excellent.

If PD's looked at their stats they would realize that emergent calls are relatively few, and they could act now to set this process in motion. You are right to dismiss the objections you hear. We don't need more officers, we need more creativity.