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Boonsboro council gives nod to citizens patrol

May 05, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

BOONSBORO -- Boonsboro Town Council members on Monday night gave town Police Chief Jeff Hewett permission to proceed with the formation of a citizens patrol unit that would help the Boonsboro Police Department monitor suspicious activity in town.

During the council's meeting at the Eugene C. Smith Community Center, Hewett said the citizens patrol unit would be the "eyes and ears" of regular police officers, and would be managed by the police department.

The citizens patrol group would concentrate on spotting suspicious activity in park areas and could do residential checks for town residents who are away on vacation, Hewett told council members.

Members of the citizens patrol would have their own cars, which would be marked to show they are part of the volunteer force, according to Hewett and Town Manager Debra Smith.

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Hewett said he does not want any members of the volunteer group to get out of their cars when they see suspicious activity. They should call on regular police officers and the volunteers would only work when town police officers are working, Smith said.

Hewett said he has talked to Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith about getting some cars that can be used for the force.

Expenses for the group would be minimal, such as getting T-shirts for members to wear, Hewett said.

When Mayor Charles F. "Skip" Kauffman Jr. asked how the citizens patrol unit would be set up, Hewett said there would have to be regular meetings to run the force.

Hewett said he would not want the unit to have more than 10 members. He added that he is not sure how successful the effort would be and that a lot of details have to be worked out.

When Hewett said the unit would need some insurance, council member Natalie Mose said she wanted more information about the proposal.

"I think it's a good idea," said Town Councilman Richard Hawkins, adding that he thinks forming such a unit is important "before the growth hits us."

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