NORMAN — Norman Police realigned police beats at the beginning of the New Year to help with call response times.
Norman Police Capt. Tom Easley said the changes exclusively pertain to the west side of town. The changes made were based on geography.
With the changes, officers assigned to the “G” beat, or George beat, are able to stay on the west side of Interstate 35. Previously, the beat alignment made it to where officers had to cover an area near Lindsey Street that dropped east and down to the south.
Easley said police will be able to respond to calls without having to cross the interstate and go through several intersections.
“It’s cleaner and simpler,” he said.
Easley said the police modified alignments of three other beats on the west side, but all of the beats on the east side of town are pretty much the same.
Aside from the “G” beat, beats “J,” “M” and “H” were changed as well. The “J” beat, or John beat, extends further south, covering the area east of I-35 that the “G” beat previously covered. The “M” beat, or Mary beat, also extends slightly further south.
The “H” beat, or Henry beat, was extended west, where it borders a small portion east of the interstate.
“The George beat would really have to do nothing as far, as introducing themselves and talking to folks,” Easley said about the realignment. “It’s a different story for John and Mary (beats).”
Easley said the Henry beat also would have to do some introductions, but not to the same extent as John and Mary beats.
As a general rule, the police department focuses on problem solving, partnership and education in each beat. Easley said they have found that their numbers are up across the board. Numbers are determined by hours of time dedicated to those areas of focus.
“The experience I’ve had with our beat officers has been a good, working relationship,” said Ed Copelin, a graduate of Norman’s Citizens Police Academy and owner of Copelin’s Office Center.
Copelin said he likes it having beat officers and knowing who’s on duty and available. It’s also nice when officers’ presence is noticeably visible.
“They’re alert to the writing on the walls, the graffiti, and they work with business owners to try to get it cleaned up,” he said.
Copelin also said it is also good for neighborhoods because police working that beat will know the trouble spots and know what to watch for.
“It’s a good relationship,” he said. “I support the community policing concept.”