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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • PD pounds the pavement

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  • - A police officer walking the beat has again become a familiar sight in the borough.
    The Police Department recently reinstated foot patrols. The patrols have taken place on and off for years.
    The results have been positive, officials said.
    "I just love it. We're getting a lot of positive feedback," said Mayor Jack Bishop.
    Among other things, the patrols personalize the police department, allowing citizens to match officer names with faces, said Chief Rick Southerton.
    The chief said he believes it is important for citizens and police to "get to know each other."
    Patrolman Donald Thacher walked Main Street on Friday afternoon.
    The officer said the foot patrols not only allow police to build positive relationships with the business owners and citizens but also provide a deterrent to crime due to their visibility.
    It also allows for business owners and citizens to express concerns to the officers or provide tips on possible criminal activity, Thacher said.
    In addition, Thacher said, officers on foot can remind people of various ordinances, such as how skateboarding and bicycling are prohibited on sidewalks.
    The foot patrols are not limited to Main Street, but occur throughout the borough, with officers driving to various locations and walking to check on things.
    Thacher said the foot patrols make officers more approachable.
    "It helps us build a positive relationship with the community," the patrolman said.
    Also, Thacher said, an officer on foot is easier alerted to certain illegal activity as opposed to an officer in a cruiser.
    Trackside Grill owner Jeff Hiller was one of the citizens who asked for the foot patrols to restart.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I do appreciate them walking the street. I think it's a great thing," Hiller said, adding the presence of the officers makes a difference.
    People are less apt to commit crimes when police are a visible presence, Hiller said.
    The mayor credited Southerton for "stepping up to the plate" and taking action after a request was made at a council meeting to have the patrols start again.
    "I give him a lot of credit for it," Bishop said.
    Bishop recalled when foot patrols were common many years ago, with the officer becoming a familiar face and checking to make sure doors were secure at night at the closed businesses.
    A police presence on Main Street and other parts of the borough also creates a more friendly environment, Bishop said.

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