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Park Police Pressence Questioned -- Sky Arnold

Updated: Thursday, November 7 2013, 05:58 PM CST
The Church Street Park is so small you can cross it in 60 steps.

Still from 7 AM to 11PM there are two Metro police officers keeping watch there.

Former Mayoral candidate Kenneth Eaton is among those that believe it's government waste.

Eaton's wife runs a salon right by the park.     

"We have two officers sitting there on a day to day basis with vehicles tied up with computers tied up doing nothing and if you talk to them they're bored," said Eaton.

It's no small investment either.

According to Metro records officers on the street average $51,000 a year.

Central Precinct Commander Jason Reinbold says his department started assigning officers from across the city to patrol the park three years ago because of complaints.

"What we had was aggressive panhandling.  We had a lot of individuals that were publicly intoxicated in that area," said Reinbold. "

Commander Reinbold says he is not taking officers off patrol to watch the park.

Instead they're using officers that have flexible crime prevention roles and those officers are coming from precincts across the city.

"These quality of life complaints grew to a point to where we needed to make sure that we took care of the issue and not just drive by if you will.  We wanted to make sure we corrected it so that everybody can use this park safely," said Reinbold

Reinbold says the complaints have stopped and employees at Provence Breads and Cafe across the street say their customers are proof of that.

"They feel like they can walk from the Sheraton down to Broadway without 100 people asking them for money and being scared to walk through that park. It's a beautiful park should be able to enjoy it," said manager Justin Bohley.   

Eaton says that's not worth the resources it takes keeping 2 officers in the park 16 hours a day.

" I don't think that's the best use of our money," said Eaton.Park Police Pressence Questioned -- Sky Arnold


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