Harlem police chief launches citizen patrol program

Harlem police chief launches citizen patrol program

HARLEM, GA (WFXG) - Soon, residents of Harlem will see their fellow citizens patrolling the streets right along with sworn officers.

"It's called the COP program, or Citizens on Patrol," explained Harlem Dept. of Public Safety chief Gary Jones. "It is a group of volunteers we solicited and asked for those who would be willing to donate their time and be another set of eyes and ears for the department."

Those volunteers will be equipped with a radio to dispatch, and a special marked car retrofitted just for the program. Chief Gary Jones said the 13 members of the program have all been specially trained.

"[The training] is geared toward radio procedure, observation techniques, and policies and procedures," said Jones.

The idea has been used in other parts of the country, but Jones said, it's a fairly new concept in the CSRA.

"It's something I wanted to do for quite some time," he said. "I've been pondering over it. When I finally decided to move forward, I didn't know how many interested people we would have, and we had an overwhelming response."

Jones said he hopes the program will continue to break down the barrier between law enforcement and the community.

"Anytime an agency can get volunteers to get involved,it just strengthens the concept of community policing," said Jones. "It shows we are transparent, we don't have anything to hide, and we want the community to be involved."

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