Register viewpoint: Feet on the beat

Foot patrols cost money. That's why we're told local police departments won't consider them anytime soon. It's a shame, becau
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Foot patrols cost money. That's why we're told local police departments won't consider them anytime soon.

It's a shame, because from where we sit, there are immediate and long-term benefits to officers wearing out some shoe leather.

So we ought to see if we can't find ways to make room for them.

Immediate savings: Officers walking don't burn gasoline. Less wear and tear on the cruisers. That has to save money.

Long-term benefits, which we've covered before in this space, talking about things such as community police stations and school resource officers:

People in the community get to see an officer's face, not his or her windshield. The police officer becomes part of the community in times good and bad -- he or she is not someone you see only when you're in trouble.

The success of that, we think, was demonstrated when Sandusky and Perkins had the COPS -- Community Oriented Police Substations -- paid for with federal funding. Suddenly the police officer was an ally, a part of the neighborhood. Some younger people might remember when the police officer wanted to know whether you'd eaten recently, not whether you had a gun or a knife in your pocket.

Schoolchildren in Sandusky and Perkins can tell similiar stories about school resource officers, unfortunately discontinued in Perkins because of budget cuts.

Community relations is part of police work, too -- which is nothing new. Back in the old days, it was simply called walking the beat.