South Bend police officers are being asked to ‘stroll’ while on patrol.
Every day-shift officer is being asked to spend at least part of their day walking their beats.
“On the day-shift we’ve asked the day-shift officers, try to get out and try to get some walking whether its 15 minutes to a half hour, depending on call volumes and availability on their beats,” said Lt. Joseph Gilea.
The extra emphasis on walking started in April. Corp. Ron Glon says he typically spends an hour a day on foot patrol.
“38 years ago, I got on the South Bend Police Department, my job was to walk from the police station, had the walking beat downtown,” said Corp. Glon. “Did not have a squad car, didn’t do any kind of ride alongs or anything.”
Glon and other officers still spend the vast majority of their days patrolling by car, but the idea is, walking a beat, simply can’t be beat, when it comes to earning the public’s trust.
We’ve had a couple of different warrant arrests, we've had a couple people flag down officers and tell them possibly people had been wanted on warrants,” said Lt. Gilea.
Today, Glon and Gilea ran into South Bend resident Dawn Collins, while walking in the Chapin Street neighborhood.
“Oh, I think it makes a huge difference especially, you know in this area, and this town, and it’s just to have, it's just nice to know that they're right there when we need them,” said Collins.
And while some in the neighborhood would rather not have such an up close and personal police presence—they appear to be getting it anyway, like the folks at one suspected drug house. “Park my squad car out there, walk the neighborhood, that squad car's parking in front of a possible drug house, go to the door knock on the door say hey did you happen to see a pit bull running around here, just keep on going to the door, knocking on the door,
scared them so much in a month they were gone,” said Corp. Glon.
Police say that 10 to 12 officers per day are out walking a beat.