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In her bright orange polo, Anderson police Officer Courtney Skinner patrols the city’s trails in an all-terrain vehicle.

Cascading leaves of orange, red and yellow. Bright sunshine. A cool breeze. Squirrels scampering about to collect nuts. Bees buzzing. Birds singing.

Autumn is the ideal time to use the city of Anderson’s trails for hiking, running or biking.

The 10-mile combination of paved and unpaved pathways connect several parks and conservation areas. One of these linear parks, the White River Trail, is described like this on the city’s website:

“The main trail or riverwalk ... follows the northeast bank of the White River for 2.3 miles. Beautiful natural land and wetland areas can be seen along this stretch of the trail.

“Abundant flora and fauna native to the area flourish and people can often be seen bird watching, taking pictures, and absorbing the many wonders available to the nature lover.”

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

The Anderson Police Department has made a renewed commitment to keep it that way, adding regular patrols to the city’s trails to assure the safety of hikers, runners and bikers.

The increased police presence was prompted by the tragedy in Delphi, where two teenage girls were murdered along a trail in February 2017, APD Chief Tony Watters said in a recent news article in The Herald Bulletin.

Using all-terrain vehicles and wearing bright orange shirts, officers began patrolling the city’s trails regularly on Memorial Day weekend.

Trail users have taken note.

Terry and Tracy Simison of Anderson, who frequent the trails while rafting on the White River, said the increased police presence has deterred illicit activities that had plagued the area.

“People say they feel safer when we are out here,” Officer Courtney Skinner said.

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