Odessa Police Restructure Patrol Zones

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Odessa Police are operating under a new game plan trying new methods of fighting crime. They completely re-structured the city and altered every schedule giving more specific coverage to each area.

Here's how it works. OPD divided the city into four sectors with four Sergeants in charge. Each of those big sections are broken down into smaller areas with officers covering each one. NewsWest 9 spoke with business owners to find out what this means for them.

Mayela Lopez opened Burri-Taco Express three years ago. In just the last year, she's been burglarized three times.

"It's been really bad," Mayela Lopez said. "I got to the point where I had to put bars on my restaurant just to make sure it doesn't happen anymore. That's the only way I can feel more secure, just a little bit."

And business owners say the new patrol system couldn't come fast enough.

"The area, I don't feel like there is enough security - especially when you come in at 5 in the morning and find that your windows are broken," Lopez said.

In an effort to cut back on crime, Odessa Police are deploying officers around 18 different beats. Each officer will work the same sector each day giving them familiarity with that community.

"It will help to foster the relationship between the officers and the geographical area with which they work," Chief Tim Burton with the Odessa Police Department, said. "Over time, we expect that relationships will develop between the officers and the people who live and work within those areas."

OPD says the new deployments will also allow more supervision for each officer, many of whom are new to the job.

"We will have an intensity of supervision where they develop a relationship between themselves and their supervisor and commander," Chief Burton said. "That lends itself to coordinated action between the patrol division throughout the 24 hour cycle."

They hope that coordination will ultimately reduce crime and keep businesses like Mayela's safer.

"It will be good if they put more security around - more police coming around the area," Lopez said. "It will be safer for us."

Odessa Police started working their new shift about three weeks ago. Chief Burton says so far so good, but it will take a while before they iron out all the details.