Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Craig Cantrell
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Leaders of the 4th Infantry Division have initiated a courtesy patrol to keep Soldiers safe after they enjoy the downtown entertainment district.
The courtesy patrol’s purpose is to provide Soldiers who have had too much to drink with another option for getting safely back to
Fort Carson, ultimately reducing the risk of Soldiers drinking and driving.
“For us, what the courtesy patrol does is it gives us some extra options,” said Sgt. Jeff Strossner, Colorado Springs Police Department Downtown Area Response Team.
The courtesy patrol program was created last summer by Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson. When the 4th Inf. Div. deployed, the responsibility was assigned to Capt. Samuel Wright, as the courtesy patrol officer-in-charge, to develop and improve the program.
“If Soldiers are doing something wrong in the club, we hand them off to the courtesy patrol, that way (the situation) can be handled accordingly,” said Bryan Cortez, a manager at one of the local establishments.
“The courtesy patrol for the downtown entertainment district was initiated to improve our relations with the community and work with the CSPD to get our Soldiers back to post and let the units handle the situation,” said Wright.
The courtesy patrol provided 103 rides to Soldiers and Family members in the first quarter of the program. As of July 24, it provided 120 rides for the month of July alone, Wright said.
“The presence of the courtesy patrol has had a huge influence on how responsible Soldiers are. We have a lot of Soldiers come in with three people and one is the designated driver … and he takes them home — that’s the biggest change I think I’ve seen,” said Frank Quintana, a manager at two downtown establishments.
A typical night for the courtesy patrol includes talking to Soldiers and Family members about the availability of a ride back to Fort Carson, tending to medical needs, working with the CSPD to allow a Soldier’s unit to resolve issues instead of the servicemember being detained and responding to other situations as they arise.
“Anytime you have people drinking, you’re going to have people drinking too much and acting out of line. But the courtesy patrol has really created a great buffer for the military,” said Cortez.
The courtesy patrol tasking requires two teams, each with an officer and a staff sergeant or above. The duty is for Friday, Saturday or on four-day weekends.
“The courtesy patrol is an absolute necessity that needs to continue. The program is providing for the safety of our Soldiers and will continue to provide the safe rides and help (reduce our driving-under-the-influence incidents),” Wright said.