Alabama

Opelika officers battling crime through new patrol program

OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) - A relatively new Opelika policing program seems to be having a positive impact warding off violent crime.

Last July, city Leaders earmarked funding to initiate a Proactive Patrol Plan. The concept provides overtime pay for off-duty Opelika officers to get out and walk a beat in a shopping area, business district or neighborhood.   

"Random times during the month on different days, different times and in different areas of town, we take two patrol cars and two officers who are off-duty, so they don't take away from the shift of the day, to go out and patrol. The purpose of this is to increase visibility.  We want more police cars in an area to be seen.  It's also about getting out and conducting a larger number of foot patrols, talking to business people, shoppers and residents in the neighborhood," Captain Bobby Kilgore said.

Kilgore reports for the first half of 2018 violent crimes including murders are down from last year.

"In 2017, unfortunately, we had five murders in four separate instances, in each of those cases an arrest has been made. So far this year, we have had two murders. One arrest made with an outstanding warrant for the other. If things stay at this rate we are on par to be a little bit lower than last year," Kilgore said.

Kilgore says the real test of the new program comes as summer approaches when temperatures and crime traditionally increase.

"We have not implemented the program for a full year, so the year mark will be the yardstick where we can measure the data. You know, trust but verify and see if the numbers add up. We want to keep the program," Kilgore said.

From January to April, 128 officers worked the special patrols resulting in more than 600 contacts with the public. Kilgore says this along with youth and citizen education programs seem to be having a positive impact on the city.ONLY ON 3: Opelika officers battling crime through new patrol program


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