Extra Eyes On Patrol
By Office of Communication
Posted on February 16, 2012, February 16, 2012

The cold winter air blew in on a busy Friday night as thousands of people moved about restaurants and retail stores along South Cooper Street and I-20 in south Arlington.

Inside the Community Room of the South Police Service Center, approximately 40 residents joined Deputy Chief Jeff Petty and Lt. Jeff Pugh to talk about the Friday night citizen patrol and what to look for, specifically 9-1-1 reports about shoplifting and vehicle burglary.

Officers were already on the street, but the extra eyes belonged to Citizens on Patrol.

Joining the Friday night patrol was Social Media Coordinator Zhivonni McDonnell and staff members from the APD Office of Communication.

With 2,300 followers on Twitter, the Street Tweet in the South District on Feb. 10 was designed to grow community awareness about a program that increases citizen engagement in efforts to deter crime.

'With wireless technology, we're able to climb into the back seat of a mobile unit and give the public a closer look at how citizens work with the Arlington Police Department to reduce crime,' Officer McDonnell said.

Since the 1980s, Citizens on Patrol have used personal vehicles with magnetic placards to patrol neighborhoods. In 2011, this group of community volunteers welcomed city-issued, marked vehicles.

Inside the Mobile Unit

Before beginning their assignments, citizens were given special instructions to use their cell phone to call 9-1-1 unless there is an emergency. They were advised to keep suspicious persons in sight when possible without jeopardizing their own personal safety.

Winding slowly through the parking lots of the Arlington Highlands, the Parks Mall and Walmart, COP member Candy Ford talked about the personal benefits of the program.

'We're Citizens on Patrol because we have ownership in our community,' Ford said. 'We're taking back our community because our neighborhoods are important to us.'

Patti Noe said she values mostly the bond that has been formed with law enforcement.

'We are alert to what's going on. We see the big picture,' Noe said. 'We educate our neighbors. It's rewarding when we're able to help someone.'

Chief Petty and Lt. Pugh said they were both extremely impressed by the high numbers of volunteers who joined the patrol on Feb. 10.

'The South District is honored to have such a motivated group of citizens willing to assist in keeping our community safe,' said Pugh. 'We welcome their willingness to partner with our officers, businesses, and community.'

The Arlington Police Department is now recruiting more volunteers for the Citizens on Patrol program in all police districts and offering field training opportunities for the COP Mobile program. Visit www.Arlingtonpd.org or call 817-459-5725 to inquire.

Extra Eyes On Patrol

Community, News, Police