SAVANNAH, GA (August 25, 2014): Metro Police officers are addressing multiple issues with a new initiative to reduce crime and strengthen relationships with the public they protect.

Operation Code Blue began July 1 and is expected to continue at least until the end of August.

It requires those officers who are not in traditional patrol positions to spend time walking neighborhoods where increased criminal activity has been reported.

The operation was initiated by Maj. Richard Zapal, commander of Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department Patrol North, in response to traditional summer increases in criminal or troublesome activity and requests by residents to see more officers walking in their areas, rather than patrolling in vehicles.

“Walking beats brings a myriad of benefits,” Zapal said. “It presents a stronger police presence that neighbors have requested. It gives the officers a better grasp of the neighborhood. And it builds relationships that we greatly need.”

Code Blue requires officers who are not assigned to patrol beats to spend some time in uniform walking in community “hot spots”, interacting with the public along the way.

“The goal is to establish a police presence in the community as a deterrent to crime and to focus on ‘hot spots’ where our analysis of recent crimes has identified increased activity,” Zapal said. “It provides a force multiplier in neighborhoods where concern has been raised.”

The operation earned the praise of Assistant Police Chief Terry Enoch as one that maximizes resources of the department.

“Our goal is to present an increased presence to deter criminal activity before it occurs,” Enoch said. “The best defense against crime is a unified coalition of police and citizens. Code Blue accomplishes both goals and becomes even another force multiplier.”

The operation calls into action officers assigned to Marine Patrol, Training Unit, Information Management, Animal Control, the chief’s office, Criminal Investigations and precinct detectives, Traffic, Precinct crime prevention officers, Tactical Investigations Units, Crime Suppression Units and officers assigned to public housing.

Those officers who typically do not work in uniform, such as detectives, will wear them during Code Blue.