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Neighborhood watch means watch and report

ALBANY — Neighborhood watch leaders and Albany Police Department officials agree that carrying guns by volunteers is not a good practice.

Following the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., Feb. 26 by a neighborhood watch volunteer, Albany watch leaders said they do not believe watch members here carry or should carry guns.

"None of our members should carry a gun. If they do, they don't do it as part of the (neighborhood watch) program," said Dr. Charles B. Gillespie of the Doublegate neighborhood watch. "There are no formal rules about it, but that is what I try to communicate to all our members."

Neighborhood watch is a program that is supposed to be the eyes and ears of the police, who cannot be everywhere, said another organization leader.

"Based on my age, experience and love of life, I think neighborhood watch is just what they say it is — a watch," said Robert Montgomery of the East Town Subdivision Neighborhood Watch. "If you arm yourself, it leads to vigilantism."

Watch leaders said the members of their organizations rarely if ever confront suspicious people as was reported in the Florida case. Albany neighborhood watch volunteers call non-emergency law enforcement numbers to report suspicious people. If there is an emergency, they call 911.

"We urge people not to pursue anyone. Use the telephone," Albany Police Department spokeswoman Phyllis Banks said. "They should call us. Officers are trained to go in and handle suspicious situations."

Although guidelines have been given to neighborhood watch groups, there are no formal rules, Banks said. She is at work on a more formal presentation that will outline information and explain the roles of neighborhood watch personnel.

The fatal shooting of Martin has sparked nationwide protests and controversy.

"Everything needs to be brought out in the open," Gillespie said. "I just feel sorry for the family and their child."

Comments

VSU 2 years ago

Now if they can just get the thugs to agree not to carry guns...........

I agree though, neighborhood watchmen should not play the role of a Policeman.

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Somebody 2 years ago

13 people shot and killed in Chicago, including Dewayne Wades cousin. 12 people shot, 2 killed at a funeral service in Miami. Why isn't Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton marching and making speeches about "STOP THE VIOLENCE" about those incidents? Simple...They can't spread their words of hate and most of all No money involved for them.

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buddy 2 years ago

Agreed...neighborhood watch means watch. However, carrying a weapon these days is only logical. If you see someone suspicious and the thug see you then you can become the victim also. The telephone is useless when it takes 30 minutes for an officer to show up! When the thugs lay down their weapons I'll lay down mine. The police always want honest citizens to leave their weapons locked up, but do nothing to get weapons out of the hands of thugs!

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coachjohnson42 2 years ago

There are many people in South Georgia who think just like Zimmerman....stalking someone and killing them has nothing to do with being a neighborhood watchman.

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VSU 2 years ago

Good morning coach, welcome back! I agree, watchmen should be the eyes and ears of the neighborhood, not the judge, jury & executioner.

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Shinedownfan 2 years ago

Welcome back from Spring Break, Corch! Hope you enjoyed your furlough and days off. Can't say I missed you tho...

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buddy 2 years ago

Good thing you are a coach and not a judge....the evidence hasn't been presented and you have already passed judgement based on corrupt media broadcasting edited newsclips (ie; NBC) and presented uneducated opinions (ie; funeral directors) to stir up the racism mob.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Coach I will be prowling your neighborhood dressed in one of my many hoodies (the most gangsta is just the plain gray one) and if you follow me I might circle back and buss you side the head. If you have your gun on you........what will you do?

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Jacob 2 years ago

When seconds count, the police are minutes away. You are a fool to depend on the police to protect you from violent crime. Be armed or be prepared to be a victim.

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coachjohnson42 2 years ago

You guys are funny. I am asking for all my friends and foes to meet me for drinks friday night at the bar at Buffalo Wild Wings here in Albany. (no, I'm not buying)Lets laugh, drink, argue, and be merry .......The time will be 8pm.......if you want to argue...go ahead....if you want to drink...go ahead...if u just wanna have fun...go ahead.....if you wanna stay online and complain all the time....go ahead!!! lol...but we will be having fun friday!!!! its on u to attend.....bye!!!

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Shinedownfan 2 years ago

Sister, you almost made me spit coffee all over my computer! LOL!

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Shinedownfan 2 years ago

8pm, I wont be there... although I would love a meet-n-greet. I'd love to meet Sister Ruby, Bubbavet, LuLu, Sally_O, VSU, Supersquawker (miss him), Waltspecht, FlunkyMonkey, Amazed2, gotanyfacts, chinaberry25... just to name a few.

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