SPD is looking for a few good citizensThe Superior Police Department is launching its Citizen Watch Groups next week.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Superior Police Department is launching its Citizen Watch Groups next week.
A series of meetings take place throughout the city to inform citizens about the new program.
Residents can sign up to be part of a watch group in their neighborhood at these events. Superior’s Citizen Watch will be similar to Citizen Patrol initiatives in Duluth, according to Superior Community Policing Officer Bonnie Beste.
Beste got to see the Lincoln Park Citizen Patrol in action when she lived in the area.
“It does make a difference when you’re seeing them,” she said. “There are people out there who care looking out for you. It gives you a sense of comfort.”
Pam Kleinschmidt has been part of the Lincoln Park Citizen Patrol for years.
“We train people to be the eyes and ears for the police department,” she said.
Meeting as a group helps members hone their skills. They learn what to look for, what to report and where to report it — usually by dialing 911.
“We’ve grown from a handful to more than 100,” said Kleinschmidt, captain of the Lincoln Park group. “We have the largest group in the city of Duluth.”
Members patrol the district in vehicles or as they stroll through the area making personal contact with their neighbors. But they can also keep the neighborhood safe from their porch or living room.
“You don’t have to do anything except report to 911 anything that concerns you,” Kleinschmidt said, whether you see it strolling around the neighborhood or out your window.
Citizen Patrol members sometimes act as diplomats or liaisons to the community, helping with noise or garbage issues.
“We are an information clearing house, so to speak,” Kleinschmidt said.
By policy, no one carries weapons on patrol.
“Our members are just content to be good neighbors, to help the community stay safe and just look out for each other,” Kleinschmidt said.
The Lincoln Park Citizen Patrol even has an office set up along West Superior Street. Kleinschmidt is there three days a week to answer questions.
“I do it because I’m retired and I think this is a great way to give back,” she said.
About 25 people have contacted Beste about being part of Superior’s new Citizen Watch Groups. They and anyone else interested in getting involved can learn more at next week’s meetings. The police department asks residents to attend any one of the meetings to be part of crime prevention in their neighborhood:
• Belgian Club, 3931 E. Second St., 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday.
• Room 270 of the Government Center, 1316 N. 14th St., 5-7 p.m. Tuesday.
• Bryant Elementary School, 1423 Central Ave., 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
• Conference Center B Room C-108 at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, 600 N. 21st St., 5-6 p.m. Thursday.
• Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1924 Wyoming Ave., 10-11:30 a.m. Sept. 22.