Downtown beat to embrace locals – Metro US

Downtown beat to embrace locals

Downtown Calgary is going to get a little more face time with city cops, under a plan to clean up the core that was launched yesterday.

The deployment of 62 constables for downtown foot patrol will be one of the first measures taken.

Police Chief Rick Hanson said police officers getting to know the people in the community they work in, and people becoming comfortable with the officers that walk their beat is a key concept to this rollout.

“(The downtown will see) a safer entertainment district, highly visible presence of officers downtown that people can connect with and officers working face to face with the community,” said Hanson.

“When people are walking out of a play in the Jack Singer Concert Hall downtown, instead of seeing drug traffickers they’ll see three or four officers instead,” said Hanson.

The deputy chief believes Calgarians are migrating away from the downtown because of their perception of it being unsafe.

“People tell us they move out of the downtown area because they don’t feel safe, now maybe with the presence of the beat officers they’ll move back,” said Deputy Chief Al Redford.

The two other priorities of the new rollout besides developing relationships are high visibility and reassurance policing, police said.

Redford said one key benefit of this rollout is that police will have an easier time keeping tabs on those who are conditionally released from the justice system.

“We plan to make the downtown area unpleasant for people who make it unpleasant for others,” said Redford.

A ceremony to launch the first beat patrol of the new program will be held at city hall on May 27.