A new strategy that puts more officers on the streets during peak crime periods has resulted in an increase in arrests, police said.
Edmond is a suburb of about 85,000 located in the heart of Oklahoma near the intersection of two major highways: Interstate 35, a major north-south corridor that begins at Laredo, Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border, and I-40, a major east-west corridor.
Local amenities include Arcadia Lake, a popular destination for campers, aquatic sports enthusiasts and bird watchers, championship golf and a growing number of public recreational sites. Officials often speak with pride about the city’s relatively low crime rate and its police officers who help keep it that way.
But issues they combat, as is the case in other comparably sized suburbs, include drug traffic on I-35, drug use and abuse within city limits, home and auto burglaries, assaults and motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said the agency divides the city’s 87.5 miles into five districts. Officers are assigned beats within those districts.
As of May, the department’s authorized overall strength was 116 sworn personnel — officers, sergeants, lieutenants, etc. Those numbers will be bolstered by the graduation of the six cadets who began the EPD’s 19-week in-house academy in November.
Since Jan. 19, the EPD has altered its shifts so that the number of officers on the streets is dramatically increased between 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Monroe said.
From Jan. 19 through Feb. 18, 2012, officers logged 288 arrests, Monroe said. This year, during that same period, officers logged 321 arrests.
The change, which follows a nationwide law enforcement trend, means the EPD can allocate greater resources to I-35 enforcement, as well as other areas within city limits, Monroe said. Administrators hope the result will be a continued increase in arrests in crimes including DUI, which causes significant societal harm.
Successes include the arrest of an auto burglary suspect during the commission of a crime, Monroe said.
The effort also gives officers three days off instead of two, which gives them more time with their families and more time to recharge emotionally, Monroe said. Having more officers on the streets at the same time is also good for morale.
Police Capt. Tim Dorsey said at the end of six months, administrators will evaluate the effort and decide if it will continue. Dorsey said questions they will ponder include: Does the effort provide a better level of service to the community? Is it good for the city? Does it reduce crime?
Citizens are noticing the increased number of officers on the streets between 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Dorsey said.
“So far I think it’s been good,” he said.
Dorsey said the Police Department had considered the change for some time.
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