Sanford Bans Guns From Neighborhood Watch Patrol

sanford-police-chief-cecil-smith-16x9

Sanford, FL Police Chief Cecil Smith

Sanford Chief of Police Cecil Smith, (formerly of Elgin, IL), took over that police department in April 2013.  He saw that the Neighborhood Watch program needed reform and he has done just that.

 

 

“There was really no accountability. There was no true recognition. There were concerns with regards to training. There were concerns with how the program was being run,” Smith said. “We put a cease to the neighborhood watch program, essentially, in the manner it was in before, and what we’re doing now is really, truly revamping the entire program, starting from scratch.”

The new program clearly states not to pursue an individual, and clearly indicates that no firearms are carried when performing duties as a neighborhood watch captain or participant.

That’s not all.  According to local reports, the new Neighborhood Watch program will include mandatory background checks and designated block captains who will have direct lines of communication with a new division of officers created to work with neighborhood watch members. Before the new rules, a civilian was the liaison between police and watch volunteers.

Wendy Dovial

Wendy Dovial Civilian NW Liaison

That civilian was a witness in the George Zimmerman trial.

Smith said the new program is really just getting back to the basics of what neighborhood watch is supposed to be.

“Neighborhood watch is a very simple organization. It’s about neighbors helping neighbors, talking to neighbors about ways to make their neighborhood safe. That’s it,” Smith said. “Again, do I think I’m going to make every person happy about our requirements that you don’t be armed? I’m not going to make everyone happy, but not everyone has to be part of the program.”

These changes were necessary, and clear policies were needed, after George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin as a burglar, followed the unarmed 17-year-old in his vehicle, and when Trayvon ran, left his vehicle and pursued Trayvon on foot and killed him.

Although Zimmerman said he was on his way to Target to get groceries when he saw Trayvon, and did not tell police dispatch that he was Neighborhood Watch, Zimmerman later justified his profiling, call to police, and pursuit by relying on and recounting his neighborhood watch activity, including organizing it for the Retreat at Twin Lakes community.

Sources: The Grio

MyNews13

 

Posted on 10/31/2013, in George and Shellie Zimmerman, Justice For Trayvon and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. ooooohhh I love the way this was written!! ♡♥♡♥♡

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    • @Rachael. “mandatory background check.” Hope that includes credit also. Maybe that will avoid having someone use NW as a coverup for crimes in the community because they cannot pay their debts, including their rent.

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  2. While this is a step in the right direction, it is still a carrot dangled in front of the rabbit! It only affects those neighbor hood watch members that participate in the official program, the one in George Zimmerman’s hood would not have been covered. It offers no real punishment when a member of an official group is caught violating these rules, merely a slap on the hand and removal from the group, think for a moment, the only punishment that George Zimmerman would have received had “his” hood watch been part of this group is to be kicked off the official list of members… The need for a law that addresses the problem with “real” sanctions (punishment) for violating the rules is needed and this does not meet those rules….

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    • Wow, crazy1946. We think alike. I just posted the comment I had been working on, and lo and behold you were posting the same thing as I was writing.

      Great comment, crazy1946!

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      • towerflower

        Agree, I still see a loophole with how Z did it. He never claimed to be on watch when confronting Trayvon so as a result would he still be able to pursue and carry?

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  3. Thank you, Xena, for bringing this wonderful news to us.

    The new program clearly states not to pursue an individual, and clearly indicates that no firearms are carried when performing duties as a neighborhood watch captain or participant.

    ….the new Neighborhood Watch program will include mandatory background checks and designated block captains who will have direct lines of communication with a new division of officers created to work with neighborhood watch members. Before the new rules, a civilian was the liaison between police and watch volunteers.

    I hope that the news of this crucial reworking of the Sanford NW program will be heard by police departments across the country, and that all NW programs will follow Sanford’s lead and revamp their local NW programs.

    I really would like to see an even stronger message given. Something like: “These are NOT suggestions. This is the LAW. These are legally enforceable rules. If you break these rules…if you pursue an individual or carry a gun……. you will be considered to have broken the law and can be charged with a crime.”

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    • Yahtzee, You’re right, it does seem as we both see similar problems with this new “rule” (note: I said rule not law) from the Sanford Police Dept. I think for once that I will borrow a term from the racist blog world and say it like this, “they are throwing the stupid people a bone made from stone that looks and sounds good while doing nothing”! Can we expect anything different from a city full of hate? Look at the bright side, we only have a little over a year to go before the Fed’s step in and charge Zimmerman…. Only after that happens will real change begin in Seminole County….

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      • You are right, crazy1946.

        And, LLMPapa’s audio below is crucial.

        There was a bug when I posted. I checked the URL that I had grabbed to post it by pasting it to a fresh window in Google address box and it went right to the correct “Mr. Holder #2” video on Youtube, BUT when I pasted it here after this check, the Shelley video appeared.

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    • @Yahtzee.

      These are legally enforceable rules. If you break these rules…if you pursue an individual or carry a gun……. you will be considered to have broken the law and can be charged with a crime.”

      I think that’s what Chief Smith means by accountability. Seems like he caught on about who has authority to give instructions also. Remember the argument about 911 dispatch not being police so Zimmerman didn’t have to obey “We don’t need you to do that”? Well, Smith has taken NW liaison from a civilian and given it to police. Now, NW can’t say that they don’t have to obey training instructions because it came through a civilian.

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      • towerflower

        Xena, . “Remember the argument about 911 dispatch not being police so Zimmerman didn’t have to obey “We don’t need you to do that”? Well, Smith has taken NW liaison from a civilian and given it to police.”

        What they did was eliminate Wendy’s job. The 911 dispatchers are still civilians who only give “suggestions”. So nothing would change in that aspect.

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        • @towerflower.

          What they did was eliminate Wendy’s job. The 911 dispatchers are still civilians who only give “suggestions”. So nothing would change in that aspect.

          By deputized police training NW volunteers, those volunteers should not need to be told by dispatch (deputized or not), “We don’t need you to do that.” If NW volunteers veer away from their training and carry a firearm and/or pursue, there is possibility of holding them in contempt in addition to charges that may result from their disobedience.

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  4. The DOJ needs to find George Zimmerman GUILTY of a hate crime.

    Just George Zimmerman’s act of rushing out of his vehicle (when Trayvon ran) with a LOADED GUN to pursue Trayvon while being filled with RACIAL HATE in the form saying “F…ing C” about Trayvon IS a hate crime!

    LLMPapa has made CLEAR that George Zimmerman DID say “F…ing C”. Just listen:

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  5. Yahtzee, You do realize that if one clicks on your link, after the first video plays the one you were wanting us to hear plays…. Did you stop to think that karma might have caused this problem? I am still wondering if the words of Mrs. Zimmerman about not being at home the night of Trayvon’s murder were true! In my mind, it seems like she may be trying to hide her role in the murder, and we have accepted what she said as true, when in fact it may be another lie from her… There were many questions during the investigation (before the non-trial) about whether George Zimmerman was alone that night! My thoughts say he was not alone, he was/is too much a coward to face even a young person like Trayvon with out some one covering his back… To place this into perspective, think about the altercation with his wife and father-in-law, was he alone? No, he had someone to cover him (protect?) if things went wrong and he was actually losing… Many people think that she is not opening up because of fear of harm from George Zimmerman, I think she is keeping quiet because of her participation in the events leading up to the murder…

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    • Well stated, Crazy1946 and VERY good questions!

      There is so much more that I would like to know + I definitely want to see George’s text messages from that night and afterwards.

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      • Yeah, that could be Karma.

        Thanks for letting me know that the one I wanted to post does later show up on the Shelley one.

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      • Yahtzee,

        ” I definitely want to see George’s text messages from that night and afterwards.”

        I too would like to see those text messages. However, I suspect we never will, unless the justice dept. actually does take action against George Zimmerman. I have felt for many years that there needs to be a change in the executive branch of our government that removes the Attorney General and the Justice Dept. into a less political and more neutral area. Presidents, have traditionally placed people into that position as a reward for their support in the election process. In this case, with the past history of Eric Holder, especially his link to the pardon of Mark Rich, places his personal ethics into a gray area. Does (will) this administration buck the system and enforce laws that are said to have been put into place only to protect minorities, while I personally think they not only should but must do so, what would be the political cost of doing so? What would be the response of the GOP/TP/KKK/NRA if the POTUS and the Justice Dept. actually did the job the law requires? I think if it will happen, and the key word is “if”, it will not be before the mid term elections. To protect the rights of all the citizens (especially minority’s) by the Justice Dept. would fire up the racists right wing and the resulting advertising that their money would buy would result in a huge loss for the Democrats in the mid term elections…

        One could only say that in many ways President Obama is standing in the center of a ring of lions wearing a suit made of fresh steaks, armed only with a twig for protection! No other president in history has had to endure the degree of hatred that this man has since the very day he took office…

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