Extra police patrols begin this weekend

May 01, 1997


Staff Writer

Additional police patrols will hit the streets this weekend in an effort to increase police presence, Hagerstown Police Chief Dale Jones said.

Jones said the overtime for the officers will be funded with community development block grant money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The increased patrols will last for about four months, he said.

Jones has asked the mayor and City Council to fund more police officers. Until then, however, he said it is important to address immediate concerns in high-crime neighborhoods.


The overtime will put two additional officers on the streets four nights a week, Jones said. Times will fluctuate and will include both uniformed officers and those conducting surveillance, he said.

The increased presence comes at a time when residents in the West End and other areas are complaining that there are not enough officers to adequately patrol the city.

"These people have been raising these concerns for a number of months," Jones said.

Several West End residents have complained that groups of youths and young adults hang out on street corners well past midnight, sell drugs, drink in public and fight.

Some residents said they are happy to have more police, but some said more overtime is not a solution.

Joe Imes, who heads a neighborhood watch group, said rank-and-file officers already are stretched too thin. He said it is unfair to rely on officers working extra hours to combat rising crime.

"We need more cops," he said.

Jones said only officers who volunteer will be assigned overtime duty.

Imes said the police have not been given the resources from city officials to eliminate what he characterized as gangs in the neighborhood. He said gang members congregate on Winter and George streets and at other intersections.

The gangs fight each other and often intimidate nearby residents, Imes said.

"We do have a gang problem," he said. "They're on the corners and the police have been doing the best they can to chase them off. There's not enough officers to do the job."

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