MEDFORD, Ore. —NBC5 News, going behind the scenes, with MPD, as it patrols downtown Medford through a new Pilot Program. If you’ve walked around downtown Medford lately, you may have noticed an extra officer patrolling.
That’s thanks to the city’s new Pilot Program. This spring the city added a patrol officer, to make contact with businesses, observe behavior, and increase the overall police presence downtown.
Business owners can now expect to see an extra officer patrolling through the Pilot Program. Its purpose is to create a safer downtown Medford for the community.
Meet Officer Arturo Vega with the Medford Police Department. He’s a School Resource Officer who just started working for the Pilot Program. It’s an expansion of MPD’s livability team, to work with other local agencies to connect people with resources and help get them off the downtown streets and the Bear Creek Greenway.
“I think it’s very much needed I think if we let up on what we are doing the issues are going to continue to get worse but if we stay on top of it we’ll be able to control it more,” Officer Vega.
The idea came to the city, from business owners concerned about crime. Officer Vega starts his day patrolling the downtown corridor. And he keeps busy, handing out a few citations, assisting in one arrest, and checking in with the business community.
“The main point of this program is to make the livability in downtown Medford safer, more welcoming, making it a place people can feel safe, interact with business owners, community members to work together to resolve any issues downtown,” said Officer Vega.
Ron Holliday is the manager at Holliday Jewelry. That’s one of the businesses, Officer Vega stopped into Friday. He’s relieved to have some extra help downtown
“I’m really thrilled that we are getting some extra police coverage not only to make us feel safer but to make customers feel more safe coming down,” said Holliday.
Officer Vega says MPD officers can sign up for the overtime Pilot Program shift It’s a 6-hour shift, Monday through Saturday. Though it’s just in its trial phase, he says from everything he’s seen, the program has been appreciated by the business community
“We constantly hear from people in general within the downtown area how appreciative they are they feel safer it’s a real positive thing not just for the department but the community as a whole,” said Officer Vega.
The trial will run until July 2nd. Then the City Council will review it, to see if it will become a permanent fixture in Medford.