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Police chief increases foot patrols downtown

January 24, 2001

Police chief increases foot patrols downtown



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


In search of that "old fashioned foot-post relationship," Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith is cutting the hours and increasing the number of officers for the central downtown foot-patrol.

Smith said barring any unforeseen problems, beginning Monday there will be two-shifts of two police officers patrolling central downtown. The shifts will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Currently, the downtown has one foot-patrol officer at a time for all shifts every day, Smith said.

Smith said having more officers one at a time will allow the officers to patrol a smaller area. Also, the downtown patrol will be the same four officers every week, which isn't the case now, Smith said.

Both of those changes should improve the familiarity between the police officers and downtown residents and business owners, Smith said.

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"I didn't sense the connection between footman and the community" Smith said. "The main thing is to get the connection we need."

The officers will patrol an area bounded by Prospect Street, Mulberry Street, Franklin Street and Washington Street, plus the first block of South Potomac Street. South Potomac Street will also serve as the boundary line between the two central downtown patrol sectors.

Smith said the changes shouldn't cost the city any additional money, because of the reorganization of the shifts.

He said a downtown foot-patrol really isn't needed Sundays or early in the mornings.

Smith said the downtown officers will begin as foot-patrol officers exclusively, but could eventually patrol the area on bicycles.

The Mayor and City Council endorsed Smith's plan when he presented it to them Tuesday.

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