A patrol initiative focused on the Hilltop has ended its first run, and according to Sgt. Joseph Horton with the Columbus Division of Police, it was a big success.
The 2009 Summer Criminal Patrol Initiative ran from May to September. During that time, two officers dedicated 83 duty days to the patrol of precinct 19.
“I wanted to take those two officers, who volunteered to do this, and have them step out of the cruisers during the early morning and early afternoon when we work,” said Horton.
He explained that during a normal shift, a patrol officer’s primary duty is to respond to calls for service, with patrolling occurring only when time allows.
“This was just kind of flipped,” he said, adding that while the officers’ primary duty was patrol, they were available for backup as necessary.
Horton says it’s important for the officers to focus on patrol because it “gives them an opportunity to progress their investigations and runs and not be beholdened to the radio.”
“It benefits the areas that we work, specifically,” he said.
This was not a city-wide initiative, but was unique to the Hilltop.
One of the greatest accomplishments of the criminal patrol initiative, according to Horton, was the progress made with prostitution on the Westside.
During a partnership with the vice unit, the two officers assisted with 46 vice-reversal arrests, where the “Johns” are targeted. Of those 46 arrests, 26 occurred on the Hilltop.
“We really turned it up a notch or two on them,” said Horton.
A total of 123 arrests were made as a part of the initiative (not including the 46 vice-reversal arrests). Fifteen of those were felony arrests. The officers also issued 118 traffic citations, impounded 21 vehicles and recovered two stolen vehicles.
“I believe we began to clean up some of the problems out on Sullivant and on West Broad Street,” he added.
While it has not yet been decided if the initiative will repeat next year, Horton thinks the possibilities are good.
“With the numbers that the officers were able to generate, we really made an impact,” he said.