MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

September 13, 2013

Horseback patrol sends two messages

Police patrolling Centennial Trail on horseback is as much about perception as it is about reality.

Muskogee Police started the patrol this week in response to some citizens’ concerns about safety.

“People have said they don’t feel safe,” Lt. Jerry Jaynes said. “That’s what’s kind of brought us onto the trail.”

There may be a perception that parts of the 8.7-mile path wind through unsafe areas.

Jaynes said the trail has secluded sections where illegal activities happen.

That’s true about our city as a whole.

There are some places where illegal activity is more likely to happen. There are many more places in Muskogee that are as safe as any city in Oklahoma.

Police Chief Rex Eskridge said Centennial Trail “can help in terms of building the reputation of Muskogee.”

He’s right.

The trail should be a selling point for our visitors and potential residents.

The trail also is an asset for those seeking recreation or exercise.

“It’s important for the community to know that they’re safe,” Eskridge said.

Police presence dances a fine line between perception and reality.

The reality is you  never want to be too far from a law enforcement officer. But we don’t want outsiders to perceive Centennial Trail as flooded with roving bands of miscreants, either.

The horseback patrols will make some feel more safe.

Random police presence will act to deter illegal activity.

The horseback patrols send a message.

We hope potential criminals hear the message that the Trail is unsafe for them.

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