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by Peter Moskos

November 4, 2009

Foot Patrol: The Colonel Speaks

Continuing my conversation with Colonel (Ret.) Margaret Patton of the Baltimore Police department, I recently received this email:
I read your added chapter [the new chapter in the paperback edition of Cop in the Hood]. You should be a police chief. The term "Policing Green" is very catchy and, more important, very smart.

Foot patrol is a key to addressing crime and working with the community in a positive manner. The idea of using a monetary carrot for the officer and linking it with the reduction of the use of gasoline was brilliant.

My husband, before he made sergeant, was a foot officer in south Baltimore before it was a trendy place to be but he loved his foot post. Cross Street Market was on his post and he still remained friends with many of the people he met during that time. I remember meeting the "Chicken Man" who sold chickens (of course) at the market soon after we married. Several of his friends from his foot post came to his funeral as well as his fellow foot officers from "way back when".

My husband always said that he was sorry that he ever took the sergeant's test because he enjoyed his foot post so much. He said that a foot post was one of the department's secret gems ("gems" may be my word but you understand).
We speak, but who listens?

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