Rolling and Patrolling
Howard County Police Officer Josh Mouton seeks to secure North Laurel and Savage –by car or by bike.
Officer Josh Mouton (pronounced Moo-Tahn) has only been in the North Laurel office of the Howard County Police Department for three months, but he has already found a way to keep tabs on local menaces.
Mouton refers to the usual suspects in the most endearing way, "I like the people I see, I like the kids I see –I like knowing what some of the knuckleheads are up to."
Mouton is part of the department's efforts to establish a positive police presence in communities. Battling a stereotype of the unsympathetic police officer, Mouton is making himself known either as a figure of authority or simply someone who will listen.
"The best part of the job ends up being just the people," said Mouton. The fact that people no longer pronounce his last name "Mau-tin" is a victory.
"My last name's not even that easy to pronounce, but plenty of people are yelling it out correctly, 'Hey Mouton,'or, 'Hey Officer Mouton, how are you?'"
Mouton says kids are his top priority. He goes to schools, introduces himself and becomes a personal resource for children –which has also led to arrests.
Perhaps not so surprisingly, Mouton says his other priorities are making his presence known even broader, and "locking up" the criminals. Department officials say a community resource officer like Mouton, patrolling by car, bike or on foot, creates a presence of stability that deters crime.
"If people are saying, 'Hey we're having this problem Thursdays at 3 o'clock,' then I'll be there Thursdays at 3 o'clock," Mouton said.
Weather permitting, Mouton can be found "racking up a million miles" on his bike riding through park trails and neighborhood "hotspots" in North Laurel and Savage.
Mouton estimates 90 percent of his time on-duty is out on patrol and, since the department allows him to make his own hours, he could be taking it to the streets at the crack of dawn or midnight.
For more information on the Howard County Police Department, visit www.hcpd.org.