Gilbert Police have modified specific patrol areas in the town to streamline officer response times and improve dispatch communication for the upcoming year, officials say.
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The reorganization of patrol areas, called beats, began in August after Gilbert law enforcement officials evaluated current patrol data and found that certain areas didn't need the focused coverage they originally received.
"There were some beats that were very low on calls for service and some beats very high on calls for service," said Gilbert Police Chief Tim Dorn. "We were seeing a disproportionate number of calls."
By moving the beat borders, a change that will take effect Jan. 1, Dorn determined that response times could benefit from new perimeters, he said.
He added that several areas did not develop the type of crime the department predicted in the beginning of 2008 when beat areas were changed to accommodate the condensed San Tan Mall district.
"We're not seeing a high volume of calls for service around the mall," he said, adding that the design of the outdoor shopping center allows for easier patrols.
Dorn also chose to move the borders around the main dispatch center at Gilbert and Warner roads from a busy beat area to allow for even officer coverage.
With the new borders, almost all beats are six square miles wide, Dorn said. These changes will make it easier to apply necessary coverage rather than placing several officers in a slow beat area.
The beat between McQueen and Lindsay roads and Elliot and Ray roads generally sees the most calls for service because it is a high-density area, Dorn said. The eastern portion of this beat area will shrink in the new year to allow for better coverage. The slowest beat area on average, Ocotillo Road and Hunt Highway between Power and Lindsay roads, will remain unchanged.
Dorn will study the effects of the changes in February when he hopes to see a major dent in response times and officer distribution.
Gilbert Sgt. Mark Marino said officers in all beat areas will be prepared for the "slight modification of service" in the coming month. A single beat is staffed by one to three officers depending on the time of day, he said.
"We are constantly evaluating how we can do our job better," Marino said. "We can do it cleaner, easier, better. It's just more efficient."