Over the Easter weekend, military personnel from Fort Benning began “courtesy” patrols in downtown Columbus, accompanying civilian police into local hotspots. From WRBL News 3:
The arrangement comes after a beating incident, allegedly involving five soldiers, earlier this month. From today’s Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, an officer and senior non-commissioned officer will walk up and down Broadway from about 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., seeking to keep the peace.
“We’re going to be stepping inside bars, clubs and restaurants that run between Ninth and 12th Street and asking security guards and bouncers whether there’ve been any problems,” said 1st Lt. David Fabozzi. “For example, if the soldier’s too drunk, we can ask him to get in a cab or we can ask for him to call for a ride. We cannot physically restrain the soldier in any way and if it comes to the point when the confrontation is about to get physical, we can ask the Columbus Police Department to step in.”
…[A]fter a somewhat delayed response to the beating, in which four Benning soldiers were charged two weeks ago with aggravated battery, it was clear that post officials sought to send a message to soldiers and the community. In downtown, the stakes are high for the post and the city on the weekend, and both entities have seemed acutely aware of public perception in light of the recent violence, which included a fatal shooting that did not involve any soldiers.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider