Dog walkers — the Superior Police Department wants your help.
A companion program to the city's Citizen Watch group begins this month, aimed at training dog walkers to serve as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement in their neighborhoods.
"It really takes the whole community. To make a good community, a safe community takes everybody's involvement," said Community Service Officer Bonnie Beste. "The police can't be everywhere, and we count on our citizens calling in and letting us know when something is happening."
Enter dog walkers.
There are over 75 million dog owners across the nation, according to the Humane Society of the United States. That's dozens, if not hundreds of people walking their dogs at all times of the day, all days of the week, in all weather conditions.
"There are plenty here too," Beste said. "We see them."
Often, they are preoccupied — talking, texting, listening to music. The police department is asking these dog walkers to step up and stay alert to suspicious activity.
A free Dog Walker Watch training and registration session takes place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Superior Public Library, 1530 Tower Ave. Participants will receive training on how to observe, identify and report suspicious people, vehicles and activity.
"If we can get more people thinking about those kind of things and calling to report it, or just watching," Beste said, it can lead to a safer community. "If people know you're watching, they'll go away, because they don't want to be caught."
Simply carrying a cell phone along on every walk helps, she said, as suspicious activity can be reported immediately.
Community Service and Humane officer Mandy Hammer will lead the new initiative.
"Having a humane officer involved brings different thoughts and tools to the table as well," Beste said.
Dogs are not allowed at the session, but their owners could score a treat. The first 30 people who register will receive a free travel-sized container of bags for their walks.
Although the department welcomes information from all citizens, they must register to be part of the Dog Walker Watch.
"If people are going to be identifying themselves as part of this watch program, we want to know who they are," Beste said.
For more information or to register, call (715) 395-7280 or email email@example.com.