SALISBURY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - It's back to basics in five key Salisbury neighborhoods where officers have been getting out of their cars and walking the neighborhoods. It’s part of a 90-day trial foot patrol initiative to reduce crime and improve community relations.
Patrol Officer B.S. Parry’s beat is in one of the five areas designated to take part in the study and said the foot patrol initiative has made getting out and walking more of a priority.
“They like for us to spend at least 15 minutes every time we get out to make sure we’re out walking around and getting a good portion of the neighborhood walked,” said Officer Parry.
So far the response from the community has been positive. When asked if the presence of the officers on foot surprised him, longtime Salisbury resident Reginald Long responded, “It did it did. So I’m looking for the horses too. Maybe they can ride those around too and the kids can come talk to them.”
Police Chief Jerome Stokes said they developed a philosophy on policing and the study measured how it worked.
“Working to solve problems, to engage people and enhance our community policing and I think this is definitely showing that we’re heading in the right direction,” said Chief Stokes.
Long sees the progress the department is making and said, “Like they’re trying to make progress in the communities and make the communities safer. So I agree with it.” Gena Long also enjoys seeing the officers walking their beat and said, “Yeah their presence, presence always makes a difference.”
Long enjoys talking to the officers and getting to learn more about the person behind the badge. He believes changing the community isn’t just on the officers.
“We need the police active in the community, we gotta have it. And we’ve got to get more interactive. We need to get out more and talk to the kids as well to help the police do their job, we need to be more active,” said Long.
Officer Parry also enjoys getting back to the basics and the special moments when residents greet him and thank him for being in the community. The moments when children smile are his favorite.
"It's been a nice change. It's definitely a different aspect of the job but it's a good part of the job to get out and get to know these people differently."
Some key areas have seen a drop in crime and a drop in complaints from residents since the beginning of the study. Chief Stokes said although the trial period has ended officers should continue getting out of their patrol cars and walking through the neighborhoods.