Weatherford PD Purchases New ATV to Deter Crime

August 16, 2007

Weatherford Democrat

Danie M. Huffman

Responding to certain calls can be difficult if officers do not have the right mode of transportation.

For example, it’s hard to take a patrol unit up or down a hill sloped to a steep grade. Missing persons calls, search and rescues or foot pursuits can be dangerous, if not deadly, without the right equipment.

Weatherford Police will be able to respond with more ease after the recent purchase of an all-terrain vehicle.

A press release stated the department adopted the philosophy of Community Oriented Policing (COPS).

The concept was implemented to send officers into the community to become more familiar with residents in an effort to address the problems they may be experiencing in their neighborhoods and help ensure a safer community.

Weatherford Police Capt. Greg Lance said the concept of COPS is understanding citizens are the eyes and ears of the department to detect and deter crime.

As a result, and to help in their endeavor, the department purchased a Polaris 4WD all-terrain vehicle using funds from seized assets in criminal cases.

“[It] will assist in [an] effort to become closer to our citizens,” Lance said. “We have found in the past, officers driving in a traditional marked patrol car tend to be somewhat isolated from the community they are patrolling. This all-terrain vehicle will allow officers to be more readily accessible to the citizens in the local neighborhoods.”

Lance said the department encourages residents who see officers on the ATV to feel comfortable in approaching them with concern about their community.

Weatherford Police Chief Jerry Blaisdell approached State Representative Phil King several years ago with the proposal of purchasing ATVs, stating they could be driven on public roadways by law enforcement personnel.

King sponsored the bill, which was enacted into law giving police agencies an additional tool to fight and deter crime.

The ATV will be used for patrolling neighborhoods and during community events like the Peach Festival, Christmas on the Square, child and adult search and rescues, missing persons, fugitive apprehensions and weather-related disasters.

“It is very rewarding when we can take money from a drug dealer and use it to reduce crime and make this community a safer place to live,” Lance said.