Keeping the Kitty Dill Walkway safe

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

With the weather warming up, more people are out walking along the Kitty Dill Walkway. West Point Police Department Part-Time Officer Annie Avant patrols the walkway every afternoon to keep it safe for citizens to use.
WPPD Police Chief Tim Brinkley said Avant has been trained through the police academy and works as a certified part-time officer, and her main responsibility was to patrol the walkway in the afternoons and watch for suspicious activities.
Avant said she began patrolling the walkway last summer, and she also worked as an auxiliary officer and a corrections officer for the Clay County Sheriff's Department.
Avant said she usually began patrolling the walkway around 5 p.m. when most people get off work and stayed until around 9 p.m., and she began around 4 p.m. and stayed until 10 or 11 p.m during the summer.
"If there are still people out after 10 p.m. or so, I will stay later," she said. "I will stay out as long as people are out walking and using the walkway."
She said during the winter, she patrolled in her car, and during the summer she patrols using a bike or all terrain vehicle.
"I prefer the bike because it's easier and safer to maneuver along the path and among the people out walking," she said.
Avant said she also visited the parks and keeps an eye out on homes and businesses located along the walkway.
"I like to mingle with the people who are out exercising and ask how everyone is doing," she said. "If anyone sees anything suspicious or if something is making them uncomfortable, they will let me know. I can take care of it myself or bring it to the attention of the police department."
Brinkley said having a uniformed officer on duty patrolling the park had cut down on potential criminal activity.
"I think people are responding well to having an officer on duty at the walkway," Brinkley said. "Knowing a uniformed officer is out patrolling the walkway deters potential criminals from breaking the law."