OUR VIEW: More officers on the street a good plan for crime suppression

Published 10:30 am Friday, September 22, 2023

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Last week, the LaGrange City Council agreed to approve more overtime for the police department, allowing for more officers to be out in the community.

The premise is simple really — more officers on the street should equal less crime. Or, at the very least, more wrongdoers behind bars. As Chief Garrett Fiveash said, the additional officers may pull over someone for a seat belt violation and then realize the driver is wanted on other charges.

Unfortunately, as busy as LaGrange is, the small things, like a window tint violation get put on the back burner as more serious calls are put at the forefront. The additional officers will allow more time for the LPD to focus on policing in all forms, which will put officers in contact with more people. Most of those contacts will be with law-abiding citizens, but on occasion, officers will run into someone who has bad intentions.

The council’s decision to allow for more police details will pair directly with the Oct. 12 gun buyback meant to get weapons off the streets. Studies show that gun buybacks typically do not have a major impact on violent crime in a city, but as we wrote earlier this week, it’s worth trying considering the number of shootings LaGrange has seen in 2023.  

The internet is a place where if you want to have an opinion, you can probably find data to back it up. You can find arguments for and against more officers on patrol and the impact on crime rates.

But, if you simplify it, the rationale makes a lot of sense.

Having more officers on the street, at the very least, means that there are more eyeballs to spot things going on in the community. More ears to hear things and to listen to the concerns of community members.

More visible, uniformed officers should create more of a deterrent to some of the violent crimes we’ve seen in our community.

The cost, which is estimated to be $50,000, is a small drop in the bucket if it means LaGrange can end some of the senseless crime that continues in our city.