In addition to normal shift patrol, four members of the Sedalia Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit spent 16 hours this weekend “hitting the streets.”
The four-person team worked from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday to supplement patrol officers and increase their presence in the city. Street Crimes typically sends out its full eight- to 10-person team a few times a year and since it had been months since the last outing, SPD decided to send a team out this weekend, said Detective Kelley Casto.
“We were seeing what all we had going on in the community,” he said Monday afternoon. “When we do this, patrol sometimes doesn’t have the opportunity to go out and do these things because they’re going from call to call. This gives us the freedom to go and check the community out, talk with subjects who may be having problems in their part of the community.
“We didn’t have any specific locations. We hit different areas we knew we’d had some problems in the past. We all fanned out and people went on their own, meeting with people walking the streets, find out what they’re doing at this time in the evening, get some more visibility out there with patrol vehicles, make it easy for a citizen to stop an officer to talk with them. It was a dual purpose with community policing and some proactive patrolling out there.”
During the 16-hour period, the team had 68 calls of service and arrested one male subject for possession of methamphetamine, according to Casto. The officers also tried to meet with citizens in neighborhoods that may not see much of a police presence and tried to be proactive in preventing crime, such as people breaking into vehicles.
“I think it was very successful, in the aspect we didn’t have anything specific, we just knew we wanted to get out and make our presence known a little more,” Casto said. “Shift guys are busy going call to call. This gives us the opportunity to go to neighborhoods that don’t always see police officers out there, check some of those areas.”
Officers used the time to follow up on areas of interest, as well as find new issues to follow up on in the coming weeks and months. The Street Crime Unit conducts these events a couple times a year, although the last one was in early summer 2015.
“We’ll do more of these if we see an increase in the stats as we’re looking at them,” Casto explained. “If there’s certain areas, the chief (John DeGonia) will do it again and maybe get more officers on the streets to effectively handle those types of problems.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.