HERMITAGE – Hermitage police are doing their part to make the holidays enjoyable for residents and shoppers by stepping up routine patrols.
”If (criminals) come to Hermitage, there’s a pretty good chance they are going to get caught,” Police Chief Eric Jewell said. “My guys are good and they’re dedicated and they’re fast.”
And that is when they are on their routine patrol assignments, Jewell said.
But during the holiday season, the chief said his department is taking a more proactive approach to fight the traditional spike in crime that happens at retail outlets.
He is supplementing regular patrols with holiday impact patrols. Pairs made up of a detective and patrolman, both in plain clothes, will form teams that will blend in with regular customers.
”If we just sit around and wait for the radio to go off, we’re not as effective as we could be by being out there and looking for (criminals),” Jewell said, adding that Hermitage does not have a lot of robberies, but that even one is too many.
The holiday impact patrols, designed to catch criminals before someone becomes a victim, will not be seen until they need to be seen, Jewell said.
But he wants criminals to know they will be there. And he wants the public to be aware that the extra, invisible patrols are out there, too.
”The holiday season brings more people and more visitors, and I want to make sure we have a safe environment for people to enjoy,” Jewell said.
And Jewell takes pride in the measures his department takes to make sure the city is safe.
”We’re going back to a good, old-fashioned, grassroots approach to crime-fighting,” he said. “The plainclothes patrol concept has not been used during the Christmas holiday season in Hermitage for over 20-plus years.”
Several Hermitage police retirees shared their knowledge with Jewell about the impact patrol program in practice in the 1980s and said the patrols were beneficial.
”I value the knowledge and experience of retired officers who faithfully patrolled these city streets long before I did,” Jewell said.
And putting their experience to the test, impact patrols over the summer that targeted higher crimes areas in Hermitage and Wheatland were highly successful, Jewell said.
”It’s just a different approach than we’ve been taking to employing the same principles of crime prevention, enforcement and detection,” Jewell said, and recited a quote he heard in one of his criminal justice classes back in the 1980s that stuck with him.
”The police can’t be everywhere, but they can be expected to be anywhere,” he said.