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New police chief hopes to return two-man patrols

By By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Feb. 10, 2002
Cpl. Jack Abercrombie of the Meridian Police Department begins his work day around 7 a.m. by gassing his patrol car and grabbing a hot cup of black coffee.
Then it quickly gets lonely as he patrols the streets for the next eight hours all by himself.
Police Chief Benny DuBose feels the same way. DuBose, who became chief three weeks ago, has made the reinstatement of those units one of the top priorities for his administration.
Beginning in the early 1990s, the department went from the traditional two-man patrol units to one-man units. Combine that with a shortage of police officers today and most MPD patrol cars still have one officer.
DuBose wants a change
Some MPD patrol cars, however, do have two men on the 11 p.m.-7 a.m. graveyard shift. The actual number of officers on one-man and two-man patrols vary day-to-day.
Abercrombie said besides easing the stress level, a partner also adds another set of eyes to scan the streets.
Detective Deano Harper, who joined the MPD in 1992 and rode with a partner until 1994, agreed with Abercrombie.
Partners become family
Harper remembered talking to his partner about different strategies to use if they were faced with a difficult situation.
DuBose said the MPD was more like a family when patrolmen had partners.
Harper agreed.
DuBose said he hopes to have most of his patrol cars filled two-men by the end of the summer. "That's what we're shooting for," he said.