Rochester, N.Y. – If you think walking a beat is a routine part of a Rochester police officer’s job, think again.
Despite the fact residents and officers love foot patrols, the vast majority officers spend their days answering calls for service in their vehicles.
“On a day to day basis, we’re out taking calls all day long and the people we interact aren’t the people who want to see us,” said Officer Tim Pancoe.
The police department would like to get officers out on foot as much as possible. Walking beats foster relationships among officers and citizens. Officers can even get to know suspects and help prevent crime. Some residents are more willing to give tips to officers they see in person.
The department is constrained by the number of calls for service and the number of officers available on any given day. Only a handful of officers on each side of the city every day spend part of their shifts walking beats. Officers are assigned based on crime patterns and resident demand.
Officer Pancoe and Officer Tim Thomas spend a half hour walking in the Hudson Ave. area on Wednesday afternoon. They came across the Letts family on Durnan St., out gardening an enormous collard green patch.
“Police are always on this street, but not walking,” said Lascelles Letts.
The officers went down side streets, where they’re not expected by residents.
“You tend to come upon more things walking on foot. You notice things you wouldn’t ordinarily notice and you’ll surprise them,” said Officer Pancoe, as he turned a corner and interrupted a dice game.
Anthony Rodriguez was thrilled to have the chance to talk to the officers as they walked by his house. “By doing that, they get to know the people better.”
“They want us out more,” said Officer Pancoe. They’re glad to see us. They appreciate what we do.”