Street beat

Published 3:19 am Wednesday, January 17, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
Residents in the area of East Jackson Street and Sowell Road may think they are being taken over by big city cops - but the Brewton Police are only taking a look at what works for big cities in the area of law enforcement presence.
With last Tuesday's inception of the concept in Brewton, over-time police officers are walking a beat along a route that includes the block of East Jackson to Sowell Road and back to Douglas Avenue.
Although McGougin said the presence of the officers in the area brought an almost immediate change in the neighborhood, the street beat doesn't run on a consistent schedule.
McGougin also cited daily routines and other calls around the city as part of the reason for the difficulty in maintaining a particular schedule.
McGougin said since the officers who are on the detail are paid overtime for their work, the project won't be able to continue indefinitely.
The purpose of the beat patrol in the area was to let drug dealers and users know that Brewton Police will not stand for that kind of activity in the city.
McGougin said he believes he has seen 18- and 19-year-olds hanging around the street corners in recent days, but feels the presence of his patrolmen is making a difference.
Officers on the beat last week said residents have been warm and open with them.
Sgt. Jason Yoder said he believes the residents are open to the new project and are making the best of the situation. &#8220These folks have been very friendly to us,” he said. &#8220Since we started the beat patrol, they have started waving to us and speaking to us from their porches. It is a good feeling to know they appreciate us being here.”
If the offer of food, drink and a friendly wave to those who have been assigned to walk the beat wasn't enough of a thank you message, the phone calls expressing thanks should be adequate proof.
With the patrol seeing a week's worth of action, McGougin says the project is doing what it was designed to do. &#8220We have made no arrests and there have been no incidents with our officers since we've been out there,” he said. &#8220We've only had one vehicle towed from the area. Things have gone well so far with the project.”
Although the main concentration of the beat patrol is in the East Jackson Street and Sowell Road area, McGougin said the department is not going to forget about residents in other areas that may have concerns.

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