Residents of Hagerstown's West End need a couple of tools in their fight against crime, but we're not sure one of them is giving citizens the power to write traffic citations. This seems like a plan almost certain to spark ill will between neighbors, when there are better ways to accomplish the same task.
The suggestion arose at a Monday night neighborhood meeting at the Church of God on Linganore Avenue. Joe Imes, a member of group called West End Against Trouble Crime and Harassment, or WATCH, suggested his group be allowed to write traffic citations.
Imes said that reident members of the group could be trained to respond when officiers could not respond immediately, to issue citations for parking violations, squealing wheels and reckless driving.
We admire Imes and his willingness to help, but there's a difference between checking overdue meters and confronting a reckless driver in the street. If a WATCH member gets hurt, is the city liable? If a WATCH member is sued over some enforcement action he or she took, are the taxpayers' responsible?