Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ottawa police increase foot patrols

The Herald Staff | 12/11/2013

Business owners and holiday shoppers might have noticed police officers walking through the downtown business district this week.

On Monday, officers assigned to the Ottawa Police Department’s Field Training Officer Program started patrolling the central business district on foot, according to a police department news release. The foot patrols generally will take place during business hours for one week, with additional patrols in areas experiencing increased reports of crimes, the release said.

“After attending a training conference and hearing from another agency that added foot patrol to their training program, I thought it would be a great way to introduce our new officers to the community while providing a level of service we haven’t been able to consistently do before,” Capt. Adam Weingartner, the police department’s patrol division commander, said. “While the department can’t staff foot patrols all the time, by placing officers in the field training downtown, we will have officers on foot, interacting with the businesses and citizens on a much more frequent basis.”

Field training officers could be assigned to foot patrols in a residential area where increased crime is occurring, such as thefts from unlocked motor vehicles, Weingartner said.

“We will monitor how this first week goes and evaluate keeping this as an additional phase to our Field Training Officer Program,” Weingartner said. “If you see the officers out, let them know your thoughts about seeing them downtown.”

Officers patrolling downtown are at or near the end of their 11-week field training program and are slated to begin working patrol at the end of their foot patrol assignment, Weingartner said.

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