AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Amarillo Police Department's newest unit has started patrolling neighborhoods throughout the city.
It's something you haven't seen here in Amarillo for a while, but APD Chief Ed Drain hopes their Neighborhood Patrol Officer Unit will bring a lot more than just crime fighting to our city.
Soon this uniform won't be an unfamiliar sight. So far, the new neighborhood patrol officer unit has 8 officers and one Sergeant.
And their goal...getting to better know the community they serve, and to be more accessible. The officers will be on bicycles if weather permits.
"At this point, we're going to be in 4 different neighborhoods," says APD Officer Jeb Hilton. "We're going to be in the heights, we're going to be in the Wesley community center and San Jacinto and also in south lawn. And then once this unit begins to expand, we will expand out to other neighborhoods."
Hilton says this is the department's beginning effort in community outreach, as Chief Drain feels connecting with the public is just as important as tackling crime. And these officers will be doing a lot more.
"Right now the neighborhood patrol officers are answering calls within a half mile radius of their stations. If it's something that's a neighborhood problem like tires being thrown out on the side of the road or junk cars, they're going to go and they're going to talk with people and work on getting stuff like that removed," says Hilton.
They will also work on drug houses, and different characteristics in neighborhoods that are "lowering the quality of life in our community." These officers are already out on patrol meeting neighbors in their community post. There was previously a bicycle unit, however it was done away with.
"Chief Drain has noticed that we were lacking in that department and he implemented this unit," says Hilton. "The unit is going to get out, they are going to help with improving the relationships between the police department and the citizens and hopefully build new ones."
You can also expect to see these officers out at community events like concerts and block parties.