Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
KSP Announces New Community Safety Initiative
(FRANKFORT, KY) - The Kentucky State Police is partnering with several law enforcement-related groups and private sector companies in promoting a new initiative that will provide Kentuckians with the skills to help make their communities safer from crime and terrorism.
Entitled "Partnerships For A Safer Community," the initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services. Participating organizations include the Regional Community Policing Institute at Eastern Kentucky University, the Kentucky Crime Prevention Coalition, the Kentucky Office for Security Coordination-Homeland Security, Kentucky Utilities, Louisville Gas & Electric and CitizenObserver.com, an Internet-based crime prevention site.
"In the aftermath of Sept. 11, the need for strengthening and securing our local communities has become even more critical," says Lt. Col. Rodney Brewer, acting deputy commissioner and director of police services for KSP. "In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush challenged all Americans to become involved in local homeland security efforts. Yet many of Kentucky´s citizens are uncertain about exactly how they can contribute to these efforts on a daily basis. 'Partnerships For A Safer Community´ will provide guidance for practical activities in which citizens can become involved."
At the heart of the effort is Neighborhood Watch, a nationwide program that has been in operation for 30 years. It provides a framework that trains and encourages citizens to help law enforcement agencies by watching, listening and reporting suspicious activities in their communities.
"Over the years, Neighborhood Watch has been highly successful in reducing crime in communities throughout the country," reports Sgt. Phil Crumpton, acting commander of KSP´s Community Relations Branch. "Our goal is to revitalize and enhance this concept with terrorism awareness training and to increase the number of active Neighborhood Watch programs in Kentucky."
Representatives from the 16 KSP posts throughout the state, along with local and university law enforcement officers, recently completed training about terrorism, community involvement and the Neighborhood Watch program. They will now take this knowledge back to their communities to help form partnerships between citizens and local law enforcement agencies in the fight to prevent crime and terrorism. The members of new and existing Neighborhood Watch programs will be provided with information to help them recognize signs of potential terrorist activity. They´ll also learn how to properly report that activity, making the residents a critical element in the detection, prevention and disruption of terrorism.
According to Crumpton, a key element in the enhanced Neighborhood Watch program is the addition of a new web site (www.citizenobserver.com) that links members directly with local law enforcement agencies. Through the site, participants can access a variety of services including crime and terrorism alerts, prevention tips and missing person and wanted suspect alerts. It can also be used to schedule Neighborhood Watch meetings.
"One of the unique functions of this site," notes Crumpton, "is its ability to let us send out alerts or tips to a particular Neighborhood Watch group or a specific community, county or region. We can now reach out to include individual school, church or business communities through e-mail, cell phone or pager technology. The possibilities are tremendous."
An additional aspect of the partnership utilizes private sector resources to further boost the Neighborhood Watch program, Crumpton adds. "Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric have agreed to add "McGruff, the Crime Dog" signage to their service trucks. Drivers of the trucks will be trained to provide assistance to children and other neighborhood residents in various situations," he says.
"There are simply not enough law enforcement professionals in any community to be on every street all the time," says Brewer. "That´s why concerned residents are the best assets of any law enforcement agency. As citizens, we all share the responsibility for reporting and preventing crime and terrorism in our communities. And remember, in many cases, the profits of drug trafficking can be traced all the way back to terrorist organizations financing their activities."
"I encourage all Kentuckians to consider establishing and participating in the Neighborhood Watch program," he adds. "It´s a simple and effective program of neighbors watching out for neighbors. In doing so, they are also looking out for the nation because secure neighborhoods are the cornerstone of a secure nation. It´s an excellent way for all Kentuckians to make a positive difference in the fight against crime and terrorism."
For information on how to start or re-activate a Neighborhood Watch program, contact your nearest KSP post.