Selma police hit the streets

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 10, 2003

Just because you don’t see a police officer in the Water Avenue area doesn’t mean one isn’t there.

That’s the message the Selma Police Department intends to drive home through their RAT squad. RAT is cop talk for robbery and theft.

According to Public Information Officer Warren Hinson, the RAT squad was created in the summer of 2002 by Chief Robert Green in response to a number of convenience store robberies.

Email newsletter signup

The squad, Hinson added, is a group of officers that serves undercover.

Hinson also said that the recent spate of armed robberies in the Water Avenue area was the impetus for focusing the squad’s efforts there.

However, Hinson was quick to add that Water Avenue won’t be the only area of focus. She said that Green makes decisions everyday about where to place points of focus on the city based on daily reports and other pieces of information he receives.

Hinson said that the RAT squad, though able to be move about more unnoticed than other officers, won’t be the only focused presence on Water Avenue.

She added that in addition to the undercover group the mobile crime unit will also be on the scene.

The mobile crime unit is another group Green formed while he was assistant chief.

The unit operates under the concept of community policing. That means the officers in the unit are in various communities in Selma on a regular basis and become known to the residents.

Hinson added that it’s been shown crime goes down when officers become known in an area.

The task force officers of the mobile crime unit, Hinson said, patrol both on foot and on bicycles. The crime unit itself, a large van, acts as a mini-headquarters. Hinson said that the unit stays in one place for a few hours as officers patrol the area close by and then return to move on to their next location.

Hinson added that task force officers not only patrol but also respond to calls in the area.

She also said that people will be able to see task force officers in familiar areas as well as new ones, such as Water Avenue.