CLAYTON – The Greenway trails in Clayton are one of the Town’s most popular attractions. Many pedestrians and cyclists frequent the trails daily. To keep these greenways safe and enjoyable, Clayton Police Department established a Park/Trail Unit in its Special Operations Division.
Officers in the unit patrol the greenways on ATVs, often stopping to share conversations or water bottles with the people they meet along the way. Their presence has helped reduce incidents along Sam’s Branch Greenway, Clayton River Walk on The Neuse, and more secluded connector trails like Salamander Loop.
Recently, a mother and her three children got lost for several hours on the Salamander Loop. Officer Revis Pounds recalled the story and how he was able to rescue the family from the summer heat. According to Pounds, the family had gotten turned around and had been wandering the trail for about six hours. Fortunately, Officer Pounds was able locate the family and lead them back to safety and water.
“Things would have ended much differently if we were not on the trail that day and did not get to them in time.” said Pounds.
The Parks/Trail Unit was officially established in February of this year with one officer. Since then, the unit has expanded to include four officers, two that are assigned full-time and two assigned part-time, which allows the unit to prioritize surveillance of the greenways and assist citizens when needed.
Officer Randolf Baity offered some advice on how to be safe while walking, running, or biking on the trail. He encouraged citizens to be mindful of their surroundings and look for identifiable landmarks and mile markers. He also suggested that trail patrons bring their cell phones if they are using the greenways alone.
Baity added patrolling the greenway is one of the many ways officers serve and protect Clayton residents.
“We want people to come out and enjoy these beautiful trails,” said Baity. “We want them to know that we are here. We want them to feel comforted knowing that we are patrolling the area.”