It was on a warm Friday night when Local 15 reporter Jasmine Williams and photojournalist Brett Doster suited up to go behind-the-scenes with Prichard police. The ride along was considered risky and they were required to wear bullet proof vests in order to tag along with the officers.
"Basically, what we do is we just hit the areas where we normally have a high volumes of calls," said Sgt. Robert Martin with the Prichard Police Department.
For Martin and his crew, this was another shift. The trip started with a prayer and when dusk fell, the search began for the criminals. Officers focused in on the Gulf Village community, Ridge Manor area, Alabama Village, and the many gas stations and convenience stores. The night started off easy, but as it got darker, the ride got rougher. Within an hour, they were on a high speed chase in the heart of the city of Prichard. With speeds up to 90 miles per hour, police went in full force chasing the criminals. The chase ended with a crash and an arrest. Thankfully, no injuries.
"The car wrecked out over here on Moffett Road where they struck another vehicle," Martin said, "this was a good pursuit, we got a felon off the street".
Even after the adrenaline rushing chase, Martin's night continued. He worked well past midnight. Compared to other departments, Prichard PD is short-staffed and officers are underpaid. But, they are still responsible for keeping the streets safe. Hot spot policing focuses on areas deemed dangerous. Officers sporadically patrol different areas working to get drugs and guns off the streets.
Prichard Police Chief Walter Knight said things are improving and crime trends are shifting. He said, overall, the city is moving in the right direction.
"We're trying to bridge the gap between community and law enforcement," Knight said, "I just want people to have faith in the police here".