Getting to know your local police officers will be as easy as riding a bike - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Getting to know your local police officers will be as easy as riding a bike

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Allison Hurtado is the news reporter at the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Contact her at (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:00 am

I've heard it over and over: "No one seems to see Phoenix police in Ahwatukee Foothills anymore."

I rode along with an officer when I was first starting the job and learned that there are only six officers assigned to Ahwatukee per shift, on a good day when no one is out sick. So I can understand when people may not see them as often as they'd like.

Cmdr. Chris Crockett of the South Mountain Precinct has said he'd like to put more officers in Ahwatukee, but it's just not possible for now.

Luckily, Ahwatukee has two community action officers working hard to make sure they keep the public's trust. I've seen them at just about every neighborhood watch group or public meeting I can think of, but just to take it a little further, they're getting out of the patrol cars and onto bikes to meet and greet the Ahwatukee community.

Officers Ben Morris and Chad Williamson plan on going out a few times a week, during the work week.

Morris said they'll concentrate on areas with a lot of people, and be stopping in to businesses to say hi and check up on things in general in Ahwatukee.

They've got a small stack of business cards to pass out in case they need to be reached for any reason.

They also plan to talk to school administrations and introduce themselves to kids at the schools.

It's an idea I've never heard of before, but just another way our local officers are trying to be a little less threatening.

"I think more people would be less afraid to report crime or give us a call if they knew who we were," Morris said. "That's the idea behind this, is just to be out there, getting to know people."

Morris encourages residents to wave if they see the two officers, or even stop and say hi if you feel so inclined.

"We want to encourage people to feel free to flag us down, say hi, and let us know what's going on in the neighborhood," Morris said.

For now, only Morris and Williamson will be out on bikes. All other officers will continue their regular patrol in cars so they can respond quickly to calls.

Morris and Williamson will be out all winter until it gets too hot again next May or June.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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