Does Birmingham Police have walking beats? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Does Birmingham Police have walking beats?

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On Focus@Four, we allow you, the viewer, to tell us what's on your mind and what you want to know about.

One of viewers, Mike Kitchen wrote in to us.

He wrote,  "I'd like to know why we don't have Birmingham cops walking a beat? They seem to know when and where crime is most likely to happen. So why don't they have several officers on foot patrolling the area, getting to know the business owners and citizens?"

We spoke with Birmingham Police Sergeant Johnny Williams. The short answer is yes, the Birmingham Police Department does have officers on foot in specific areas of the city. With technology though, "walking" beats can be modified. Perhaps officers will be on T-Three Standing Scooters. That way officers can patrol on foot and on wheels.

Keridiaus Jones works at Firehouse Subs in Five Points South.

"We often see beat cops walking. We see the bicycle cops in the yellow jerseys ride by quite frequently as well," said Jones.

He's responsible for holding the promo sign, so he spends much of his time outside on this corner. Still, he says he feels safe, and often sees police officers who are not in patrol cars.

"Usually you'll see them toward the weekend like Friday, Saturday, definitely Saturday night. Usually there is almost always one," said Jones.

Birmingham Police Sergeant Johnny Williams says the officers are strategically placed throughout the city.

"Areas such as five points south. We also use them around the Crossplex area, the entertainment district, the uptown entertainment district around the civic center area and various shopping centers throughout the metro area," said Williams.

However, they aren't your typical foot patrol officers. Often, they're on wheel patrol.

"With the advancement of technology and the size of the city, we've moved more towards what we call modified foot patrol," said Williams.

Williams says the department has some 800 officers on the force. Roughly 200 of them are trained on the T-three scooters and bicycles. Both are modes of transportation that still allow the officers to patrol on sidewalks, and close to people.

Sergeant Deena Armstrong has been on bicycle patrol for fifteen years.

"We basically go from the civic center all the way down to railroad park, down to Carraway, all the way down to 14th street. We have a wide area," said Armstrong.

She says not being confined to a car has helped her build trust with business owners and their patrons.

"If gives of the opportunity to actually stop and talk one on one with the workers and the businesses owners," she said.

Amir Shah is owner of World of Beer in Five Points South. He says safety has a direct impact on his bottom line.

"We have so many great businesses in the area that they should feel comfortable being able to walk from one to the next," said Shah.

When comes to adding more foot patrol officers to the streets in certain areas, Williams says they will evaluate each area and adjust accordingly. For instance, football games and events like 50 Years Forward would call for more T-three, bike, and foot officers.

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