Midwest City Police are hoping to build better bonds with neighbors, by meeting them at their own front door. Recently, 911 calls have been on the rise, so police are returning to an old school crime-fighting tool, walking the beat.
From door-to-door, officers are coming face-to-face with the people they serve.
Chief Brandon Clabes himself feels the importance of making the personal connection. He said, “If they feel isolated from their police department, they’re most likely not going to want to call us for any issue.”
In one area of town, they learned neighbors had a variety of concerns that were never reported, everything from speeding to violence.
“I actually thought I heard some gunshots a few nights ago,” one resident told the officers.
Another agreed, adding, “I thought about calling the police, but I was just like oh, I’ll let you guys handle it.”
One man said, “My lawnmower was stolen out of my backyard, really no supervision for the kids.”
Speeding came up in multiple conversations, with one woman saying, “My dog got hit yesterday.”
Learning about issues like these helps the department direct their resources where they are needed most.
“We’ll try to help curb that with maybe the presence of some more officers,” Lt. Matt Clawson told the woman.
The relationships developed through these conversations are lasting.
Clawson explained, “You build that bond, even with that house, so the next time I drive down the street or we have a call two doors down, I know I can go to that person.”
The patrols are made possible by Attorney General Mike Hunter’s Safe Oklahoma Grant, and officers hope they help curb the coming summer crime season.
Homeowner Louise Garvin said, “It made me feel very good because I know that they’re going to be watching more, and I do report anything that I see that’s going on.”
“When you have a community that we can trust and rely on them,” Clawson said, “they can trust and rely on us, and we’re going to have a safe community and everyone is going to feel safe coming here and living here.”