Walk and talk police patrols resume in city

City police this week resumed walk and talk patrols tried before and designed to improve relations and trust between residents and the officers assigned to protect them.

On each shift, patrol officers will be required to walk for a minimum of 30 minutes around the city to meet with neighbors and listen to them.

“I’ve asked for the walk and talk to restart,” Mayor Gabriel J. Campana announced during the city Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday.

“It gets those in neighborhoods, if they aren’t already, more comfortable and acquainted with the officers,” City Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman said. “It gives them a name and a face to identify.”

Officers who spend time in car are often anonymous, he said.

“Police are on patrol all of the time, but in this program they will get out of their vehicles, in assigned areas, designated by watch commanders as problematic, and elsewhere, and meet the people and listen to the complaints and respond to them. It’s to make a presence,” Foresman said.

The walking patrol stopped during the winter months, and Foresman said there was a good reason for the stoppage.

“There’s not as many people out in the winter,” he said. “The whole intention is to have officers talk to people.”

The purpose is to have the patrol officer engage in conversation with the citizens and visitors wherever they are in the city, he said.

“This isn’t just for the downtown,” Campana said. “It’s for all of the city’s neighborhoods.”