The City of Lubbock alone has over 200-thousand people. That's a lot for a only a handful of officers to patrol. So getting to know the "extra eyes" in the community can be a big help.
Lubbock Police Officer Corporal Mike Blakney says, "A lot of times community members call us and let us know what's going on in the neighborhood; the guys across the street are back at it."
That's one of the ways Blakney was tipped off that homeless people were doing drugs in a vacant house. He's a beat officer, meaning for the greater part of his day he's going in and out of the same area. "Just kind of seeing what's going on. People sometimes wave you down about certain things," said Blakney.
On Wednesday, January 19th, during the State of the City Address, Mayor McDougal said he wants all officers to have such relationships. But Blakney says one thing could be in the way. "Our population's grown so much in town that certain days we're called and called and called."
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Lubbock Police Chief Claude Jones said, "That's another increase that wasn't mentioned here (at the State of the City Address) today. It's not only the population of Lubbock is growing, but the outside areas are growing. That's another reason we need to keep up and continue to grow."
About 50 new officers will soon be on the streets, allowing officers like Blakney to do what he does best. "I think it helps us in the area, as far as getting a repor with the people because I'm over here everyday I work. And certain people you see over and over and over. They begin to know you, you begin to know the trouble spots," he said.
Slowly and frequently patrolling the same areas allows officers to become familiar with their surroundings and what should be going on. Tuesday, January 18th, Blakney was able to catch a burglar by doing so. So Blakney's daily routine and the mayor's goal are already close to being one in the same. "I guess my satisfaction is knowing we make a little difference, around the area here maybe by talking to the kids, making a difference in their lives a little bit," said Blakney.
The police department also has a neighborhood service vehicle. It's a mobile unit they set up in different neighborhoods for a couple days at a time and it gives you a chance to get to know your officers.
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State of the City Address Transcript