WEST YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – A police department in York County is hoping to take a bite out of crime by putting more officers on the streets.
You’ll notice something different if you’re walking around West York. More officers are out on foot and bicycle.
“This may be my office for 12 hours,” West York Ofc. Bree Wilson said as she sat on her bicycle.
Wilson’s office is on two wheels. She spends much of her day on bike getting to know the people of West York. She says it helps her better interact and get to know the residents.
“They’re a lot less reluctant to come up and talk to you while I’m on a bike,” Wilson said. “They stop me anywhere, and they want to have a conversation just about anything in general. ‘Hey, do you have to go through training riding that bike? How does that work? Do you actually go and answer calls?'”
Officers are also trading in the four-wheeled vehicles for no wheels and putting their best foot forward on the streets.
“Increased foot patrols and bike patrols, it does give us an opportunity to interact more with residents of the community,” West York Police Chief Matthew Millsaps said.
Millsaps and another officer walked on foot patrol for a targeted enforcement in the southeast section of the borough. They put fliers on doors after getting complaints about drugs, trespassing, and noise.
“What to them might not be loud music to their neighbors just below or just above them actually is,” Millsaps said.
The chief hopes increasing bike and foot patrols will help officers better connect with the community.
“Usually when the police are involved, there’s some type of emergency or very bad situation,” Millsaps said. “It’s actually very nice to be able to see our residents and see our neighbors and talk to them when they’re not in a crisis state.”
“I think it’s great because the kids can get to know the police officers more. The adults can get to know the police officers more. It becomes more of a community with open communication,” said Jen Crider, a West York resident.
You should continue to see the bicycle and foot patrols in the borough.
“We’re not going to slow up. We’re actually going to try to expand it because we’ve had such good luck with it,” Millsaps said.
“I want them to see the police as not the enemy but hey, we are actually here to help, and we are human too,” Wilson said.
Each patrol officer is required to spend a portion of his or her shift on foot unless there’s an unusual situation.