LIMA — In an effort to reduce crime and foster safer communities, the Lima Department of Community Development and the Lima Police Department are calling on civic-minded individuals to take to the streets.
Neighborhood Specialist Autumn Swanson and members of the Lima Police Department Community Policing Program announced the formation of Citizen Block Patrol, in which community members can aid the police department by alerting them of suspicious activity or even active crimes.
“This is getting back to the grassroots of (community oriented policing),” Lima Police Sgt. Jason Garlock said. “The main thing we’re going to focus on is their role as a set of eyes and ears when we aren’t present. We don’t want people engaging when they see illegal activity. We want them to observe and report anything they see.”
The program was developed by the Community Development Department in coordination with police. According to Swanson, the program will begin in five different pilot neighborhoods.
“The five neighborhoods will be the ones where the five COP stations are located,” she said. “The stations will act as starting sites for patrols.”
COP stations are located at New Life Assembly on East Kibby Street, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church on North Metcalf Street, the Bradfield Community Center on Collett Street, Maplewood Northwood Apartments on Brower Road and Waterford Townhomes at the corner of Hope and Nova Streets.
Volunteers are needed for the patrols, Swanson said. All volunteers must be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident and live in Lima city limits or the surrounding townships. Volunteers will also be required to attend a 12-hour training session developed by the Lima Police Department prior to participating in patrols.
An orientation for those interested in the program will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 at the LACNIP Resource Center, 1440 W. Spring St. To learn more, contact Swanson at 419-221-5177.