Taxi drivers join police to fight crime

October 02, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Somehow, the blue sedans in Jimmy's Cab fleet don't stop criminals the way Baltimore County police cars do -- a blessing and a curse that police and the Towson-based taxi company will try to take advantage of in a new partnership.

Announced yesterday at county police headquarters in Towson, Jimmy's cabdrivers are participating in "Taxis on Patrol," agreeing to report suspicious activity when they see it.

In turn, police will be stopping the cabs periodically for safety checks to ensure both drivers and passengers are safe, officials said.

"That's the important part -- the drivers are out there day in and day out," said Baltimore County police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan. "They're another set of eyes and ears for us."

The program, which has long been operating in many other jurisdictions in the region including Anne Arundel County, trains cabdrivers to report potential crimes and criminals to their dispatchers, who then call the county police 911 center.

A badge decal will be displayed on the sides of all 126 cabs in Jimmy's fleet -- a $1,100 cost being split between the county police foundation and the Police Department.

Cabdrivers said they think they can be helpful.

"You're out there 12 hours a day," said Marty Mannion, a taxi driver for eight years. "You see what's going on out there."

Driver Jesse Guy said he's also happy to have police looking out for them. "You have to be aware of so much, including who's in the back seat behind you," he said.

Although only one cab company is participating in the program, county police officials said they hope to expand to include others.

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