KINGSPORT – As a direct result of the successful efforts to revitalize Downtown Kingsport over the past several years, the Kingsport Police Department has recently brought a Patrol Officer back downtown to walk the beat. ‚ With the exception of special events, such as parades and concerts, K.P.D. has not conducted downtown bart patrols in decades.
K.P.D. last utilized downtown bart patrols in the 1980’s; however, as the City of Kingsport continued to grow and branch out, businesses and activities abandoned the downtown area and took up residence in malls, shopping centers, and business parks throughout the city. This transformation necessitated transitioning from bart-based patrols to more practical vehicle-based patrols, so the additional ground could be covered in a more timely manner.
But Downtown Kingsport has come full circle and is booming once again, with businesses, activities, and even residences literally flooding back into the downtown area in droves. ‚ The personal touch of an officer walking the downtown beat has again become practical and is a natural next step in promoting Downtown Kingsport as a safe place to live, work, shop, and recreate.
K.P.D. has recently had the opportunity to realign some personnel positions, which in turn has resulted in the freeing up of some funds.‚ A portion of these monies are being utilized to finance both the Downtown Beat Officer Program and the K.P.D. Bicycle Patrol Program.‚ While the bart patrols will be limited to downtown, the bike patrols will take place throughout the City of Kingsport with an emphasis on both the downtown area and the Greenbelt.
Initially, this will not be a full-time program, with downtown bart patrols being somewhat limited by manpower and budgetary constraints.‚ However, the patrols will be scheduled to coincide with the prime activity time periods for Downtown Kingsport.‚ The Kingsport Police Department anticipates that the bart patrols will be well received and hopes to be able to expand the program in the future.