FEATURED PHOTO: RICHMOND HEIGHTS POLICE CHIEF THOMAS WETZEL
Yahoo.com, By John Butler-THE NEWS HERALD, Posted August 17th 2022
Richmond Heights Police on foot patrol handed out badges to children as part of their ongoing campaign to build a better relationship with their community.
Police Chief Thomas Wetzel, on foot patrol handed out stickers and magnets to the children at Dorchester Apartments. Wetzel encountered the children and their parents on his route and passed out the stickers shaped like badges.
“Foot patrol provides a unique opportunity to meet our customers in a more personal way,” Wetzel said. “This style of outreach allows me the opportunity to greet those I serve in a friendly manner of which patrolling in a cruiser can’t always provide.”
He believes that through the use of more foot patrols such as this they can form a better understanding with their neighborhood and even deter criminal activities with their presence.
“From talking to people regularly and building a rapport, officers can learn about things going on within their neighborhoods and act on it,” he said. “Regular interaction with our customers allows us to have our finger on the pulse of a community and provide even better service to them.”
Wetzel said that foot patrol is used by the Richmond Heights police to help erase negative stereotypes of police officers.
“It is always amazing to be on foot patrol and present magnets or stickers to children in our community. I found kids are so delighted to get badge stickers and it can really bring smiles to their faces,” he said. “These occasional interactions with young people can really help build long-term sturdy bridges of trust with not only the kids but their parents as well.”
Wetzel hopes these foot patrol techniques will help build trust between the community he serves and the police.
“A function of our youth outreach is also for future recruitment. You never know when a child who wore a sticky paper badge you gave them will one day grow up and wear a real steel one,” Wetzel said.