New OS walking patrolman making rounds in downtown - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New OS walking patrolman making rounds in downtown

Officer Van Garrard, the Ocean Springs Police Department's new walking patrolman, thinks a police presence will help deter crime. (Photo source: WLOX) Officer Van Garrard, the Ocean Springs Police Department's new walking patrolman, thinks a police presence will help deter crime. (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

He walks the streets of downtown Ocean Springs, greeting business owners and patrons alike. However, he's no tourist - he's Officer Van Garrard, the Ocean Springs Police Department's new walking patrolman.

The Ocean Springs native has been on the downtown beat for the past month. He believes the mere presence of an officer walking through the shops downtown is a deterrent for anyone making trouble.

"The city of Ocean Springs has gotten really busy in the downtown area. We have a lot of visitors come here. We have a lot of parking issues. We have a pretty big homeless population. And they needed someone to be constantly down here to kind of deal with all those things specifically," Garrard said.

In his time on the downtown beat, Garrard has gotten to know many of the business owners. He enjoys his daily interactions with them.

"All of the business owners downtown are extremely hospitable," he said, "I really enjoy it. I like the community aspect of it." 

The presence of a patrolman walking the streets of downtown Ocean Springs makes the business owners like Gayle Jones feel safer.

"It's just such a relief, it's wonderful to have him. He's very attentive. He pops in every day and finds out if we're okay, if we have any concerns. I've seen him at night, I've seen him in the morning and we just feel safer," Jones said.

Garrard says he's not sure if the city will add anymore walking patrolmen, but he believes the position is an asset to the community.

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