THE CAPTAIN'S CORNER

COP ON A BEAT
ArticleID: 67
Date: 1/31/2001
Written By: Captain Jackson

COP ON A BEAT
by Captain Jackson

There once was a time when people knew their neighborhood policeman. Besides being a law enforcement officer, he was also a friend, counselor and sometimes even best man at a wedding. He was there in times of glory as well as times of tragedy. He was the one to take control during an emergency, and he was the one to handle the petty problems of his surroundings. He was called a BEAT COP.

Of course that was a time decades ago, a time when things like radios and automobiles did not yet exist, and a horse was the only means of long distance transportation. That was a time when he was the only public authority who stood between danger and the safety of his friends and the neighbors he lived with.

Unfortunately, a the rift between the police and the public has been created, and years of apprehension have evolved. Think about it. Today during an emergency situation we call 911. The police arrive via police car with all it`s technology and armament. Truly an impressive sight to behold. But also a wall between them and us.

Today, most people associate seeing the police with crime, arrests or, when behind them, being pulled over and cited for a traffic infraction. By the same token, our police forces are so outnumbered and overworked that they seldom have time to interact with the public the way they once did.

However, in recent years the Jackson City Police have done something to change this situation. It`s called the "Resident Officer Program" which has been going on for about ten years. In this program, two officers and their families live in city owned houses in the higher populated and higher crime districts of the city. These officers apply, and are appointed to these duties, which last for about two years.

One such officer is Jeff Young. For almost two years, he and his family have lived at one of these houses at 1043 Chittock. We have had the opportunity to work with Officer Young on a number of occasions this past year (you may see a couple of pictures on our respective sites by starting at: www.jxnmichigan.com/captainjackson/ ). He is a very dedicated and hard working individual with a great sense of humor.

And such a sense of humor is very important. Although such officers are usually on the clock Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 noon to 8:00pm, being a resident officer is very similar to being a doctor. They`re on call 24 hours a day. Think about it.

In such a highly populated area, regular patrol units may take some time to answer an emergency call. With a resident officer only a couple of doors away, what better way of rendering help than addressing him? Just like the old days. And on top of that, there are many "regular" police duties they have to address as well.

We first met Officer Young at one of the downtown CRUISE NIGHTS events. Like us, he was working security. Some people may complain that during some of these events the police "just stand around and do nothing", but in reality, officers like Jeff Young are more on patrol when they just sit back and observe.

As he was joking with CRIMEFIGHTER GIRL, a couple of young men walked past. "Just a minute", he said, and at a rapid pace walked up and questioned them. A few minutes later he returned. Turns out they lived in his "resident" neighborhood and were suspected criminals. Like in the old days, just having an officer living in the area keeps the possible bad guys on their toes.

Whether walking the beat, riding a bike or driving around in a patrol car, it`s officers like Jeff Young who have lived in such an area that have once again brought crime fighting to a neighborhood level. A waste of our money? I think not. Until we get to know and work with officers like Jeff on a more personal level, the criminals will still have a chance to control our streets.

Copyright 2001, CFC


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