Sanford, FL Police Chief Back Peddles On Neighborhood Watch Carrying Guns

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

Sanford Police Chief, Cecil Smith

About 6 days ago, it was reported that Chief of Police Cecil Smith of Sanford, Florida, revamped the rules for neighborhood watch volunteers that include they cannot carry firearms while conducting neighborhood watch.

Now, he has changed his mind. The Orlando Sentinel and other sources report since the original announcement, that Chief Smith held a community meeting where he clarified the new rules for Neighborhood Watch.   About 100 people attended.

Chief Smith stated:

“We’re recommending that no one is armed” and, “It’s about communications. It’s not about firearms.”

While the police strongly discourage the carrying of a firearm by neighborhood watch volunteers, they are not going to stop them from carrying.

The Daily Beast reports Chief Smith saying;

“It doesn’t say you can carry a firearm and it doesn’t say you can’t. We’re not banning firearms. We’re telling people that you should not—not ‘shall not’—be armed when you’re performing as a Neighborhood Watch block captain,” he explains. “Neighborhood Watch is built on the principal of ‘Observe, identify, and notify the police if you see something suspicious.’ You don’t chase someone down, you don’t confront. You call us and we’ll do that.”

Smith blamed the confusion on his use of faulty language, saying that “Citizens on Patrol” will be banned from carrying handguns.  That is not faulty language.  In July 2013, Blackbutterfly7 reported on Citizens on Patrol. Citizens on Patrol has always banned the use of carrying firearms by its volunteers.

“Neighborhood Watch was never meant for people to carry guns,” Smith said during the news conference. “It does not have a patrol function in the city of Sanford.”  Chief Smith stated that people never confront a possible criminal but call the police instead.

That is a mixed message.  On one hand, Chief Smith says that neighborhood watch is not to patrol, pursue nor confront, but observe and report to the police.  On the other hand, he infers an encouragement to patrol and confront  by allowing neighborhood watch to conceal carry.   If a person sees something suspicious when out of their house, and they are not to confront, Chief Smith’s rule opens opportunity for more Zimmermans; i.e., just allege they were going to the store, but they saw someone suspicious based on their experience as a neighborhood watch volunteer.

When Smith became chief seven months ago, he said he found neighborhood watch in disarray, with various groups operating with their own set of rules and no accountability.  What Chief Smith has done in the new policies, is require concealed-weapons license holders who volunteer for neighborhood watch, to sign waivers that absolves the police of any liability should they use a firearm while on patrol.

While urging residents never to confront a possible criminal but call the police, Chief Smith gives every resident opportunity to be the next George Zimmerman. They can call the police, and confront.  In that case, while Zimmerman was on the phone with dispatch following Trayvon in his vehicle, Trayvon Martin ran.  Zimmerman immediately exited his vehicle.  Zimmerman, who answered in the affirmative when asked by dispatch if he was following Trayvon, later alleged that he got out of his car to get an address to give to dispatch.  Zimmerman did not give the address to dispatch.    Inconsistent with that, Zimmerman also alleged that he got out of his vehicle to follow Trayvon because dispatch asked him to report where Trayvon went.  As evidenced by his call, Zimmerman reported to dispatch that Trayvon was running in the direction of the back gate as he was exiting his vehicle and before being asked if he was following.

With Zimmerman’s inconsistent statements, and being found not guilty, what’s to stop the next armed person from alleging a person is suspicious, following, confronting and killing that person, then claim inconsistent reasons for following?  What’s to stop the next judge from ruling that the initial aggressor section of the law should not be provided in jury instructions?

Chief Smith still requires Neighborhood Watch volunteers to undergo criminal background checks and formal training.

Posted on 11/06/2013, in George and Shellie Zimmerman, Justice For Trayvon and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. This news is such a let down.

    I am distressed.

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    • This has to STOP!!

      A beautiful 19 year old struck down by a racist gunner.

      This is so heartbreaking.

      I am so angry!!!!!!

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    • What’s interesting is that SYG doesn’t even apply to black police officers. Type in Joseph Walker nj detective. What you will read is astonishing. Compare how Detective Walker was and is being treated, to how the shooters of Ayana Jones, Oscar Grant, Ramarley Graham, Derwin Pannell Sean Bell etc were dealt with.

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  2. Researchers have found that the more racist beliefs held by a white person, the more likely the person is to own a gun — conclusions that have rankled gun rights advocates.

    A team led by Kerry O’Brien, of Monash University in Australia and The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, examined white Americans’ negative perceptions about blacks and compared the rates of both gun ownership and opposition to gun control to discover the correlations.

    http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/6/study-suggests-link-between-gun-ownership-racism/

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    • “conclusions that have rankled gun rights advocates.” You mean the racist white people who own guns? What is it they can’t see here?

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    • Here is the study:

      http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0077552#s1

      This was the objective of the study: Racism is related to policies preferences and behaviors that adversely affect blacks and appear related to a fear of blacks (e.g., increased policing, death penalty). This study examined whether racism is also related to gun ownership and opposition to gun controls in US whites.

      One of the things I could not find was the actual questions asked beyond the couple listed in the study–“How well does the word ‘violent’ describe most blacks?” or “Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class”. How a person answered the question through several options determined if they held racist views.

      I could not figure out how many people were surveyed, but it was geared towards only white racism toward blacks. To me it was a flawed survey because it did not go into other races nor did it survey why blacks or any other race own guns and possible motives, ie racism vs fear vs other reasons. To me, if you are going to do a study then survey every race across the board and their reasons and then come to the conclusion. A commenter questioned the study because it dealt strictly with whites owning guns and harboring racist views and the author replied: “You will note that at no point do we state that if you own a gun you are racist. That would be a quite inaccurate statement, and not supported by our results, and no where in our conclusions. Your other questions are perhaps worth studying, but please note that we did not design the questions or conduct the survey, from which we accessed the data (the American National Election Survey: ANES).”

      But I do know a couple of gun nuts, and I have to say that their reasons for owning multiple types of firearms has more to do with distrust of the federal government than it does with anything dealing with racism. They tend to be republican since democrats are most likely to present bills dealing with gun control. This study was also done by universities within two countries that have some of the most strict gun control laws around (Australia and the United Kingdom).

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  3. This is a very difficult, heartbreaking page.

    Words are beyond me right now.

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  4. Jueseppi B.

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

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  5. Two sides to a story

    This backtracking is not that surprising considering the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. At least the police chief reiterates that NW is about observing and calling the police, not following and confronting. However, sounds like there could be future GZs in Sanford – or under the new chief and change in prosecutor – would a similar scenario play out differently in the courtroom? I hope we don’t have to find out.

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    • @Two sides. Agree — I hope we don’t have to find out.

      Maybe HOA’s need to pass rules to prohibit NW patrols and/or, conceal carrying while on NW patrol. That would not violate the 2nd Amendment anymore than states, counties, cities forbid the carrying of firearms in courthouses and airports.

      Like Smith previously said, being on NW is voluntarily. If people want to conceal carry at all times, then don’t volunteer.

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      • Even if the HOA passed such a rule, unless the HOA had a set schedule of watches what is to stop another Zimmerman from simply stating he wasn’t on watch, like he did that night?

        But under Florida law a business can post a do not carry sign at their place of business and concealed carriers must abide by their wishes.

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  6. I can’t imagine any HOA allowing their NW members to carry guns. This sucks. But money talks. I wish Insurance companies would have a special clause saying they won’t pay if you endorse a fruit cake to represent their community.

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    • @mindyme62. It’s Florida, where conceal carry is complemented with SYG.

      I wish that the States would require gun owners to carry liability insurance.

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  7. Aloha Goddess, I am sooo confused why this article made it into news oh wait….Orlando Sentinel right? Has anyone seen Rene Stutzman lately? I typically go over to take a scary peek at their headlines once a week. But it causes my PTSD to act up if I read any story there.
    A footnote about HOA’s and AOAO’s they are governed by the States Statutes. I have an AOAO because I live in a condo, But HOA’s here have basically the same bylaws with the exception of landscaping, etc. added on to the already hefty maintenance fees. I have several clients who live in townhouses with HOA’s and they do not have Neighborhood Watch. I have Security in my condo, in uniforms. I have 3 clients who live in different gated areas of Kailua, one borders a private golf club. Obama always golfs there when he is home for the holidays.
    In any event since this murder we have spoken about HOA’s and the strange idea of a NW in a gated community. The security of this particular gated town home have Police drive thru nightly. It is one of the reasons they pay HOA fees. It affords them extra Police Patrols paid directly to the Police Department. They have no crime there. It is a larger broader community with many more areas to go thru to get in. The gate is the deterrent to a burglar Who in their right mind would go into a set of town homes trying to draft in on a residents entry, the resident would notice this, and the gates do not allow much time for it. Leaving would not be a big problem except the gate takes forever to open. I have a real problem with his story about burglaries. I have read those reports and the items being stolen according to him are usually huge large T.V.’s 60″ ones computers cameras tripods xboxes these are not things you can stick in your pockets. Then of course all these happen in daylight while maintenance and lawnmowers are tending to the grounds. It is a bullshit story a fantasy world created in his head. Zimmerman thinks we are all fools. Sorry to rant but it is ridiculous. Then to have NW for a community built in to provide the very security he claims is rampant in one. Just my 2 cents.

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    • @Jueseppi. The Bulls??? Geez. I haven’t been into basketball since Michael Jordan left the Bulls. LOL!!!

      I’m good — working on some more things for the blog and videos. News keep changing daily.

      How about the Virginia election results?

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    • @sdunn5. Good to see you!!! You make excellent points. The thing about the Retreat at Twin Lakes is that the burglar was one of the residents; Emmanuel Burgess. He was arrested on 2/7/12, and Zimmerman knew that. He had no legitimate reason to suspect Trayvon nor legitimate reason to say “THEY” always get away.

      Burgess is currently serving time for 4 counts of grand theft and 3 counts of burglary of a dwelling. He was sentenced by Judge Nelson on June 21, 2012, so even she knew during Zimmerman’s trial that the defense was using fear tactics to allow the jury to use their racial biases.

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    • My mom lives in a gated community. The have no security, no NW, only a gate that allows you through with a code, or a remote, and a phone to call the owner, who allows the gate to open from home. There have been a couple of burglaries, which have been attributed to someone living in tghe community, and one from either a gardner or pool maintenance worker.

      From my experience in gated communities, people are pretty neighborly, waving as they go by, and they stop an introduce themselves to new people in the community. I have yet to hear of anyone stopped and asking a person what they are doing in the nwighborhood, not identifying who they are, and to ask for their identification. Someone made the statement “how cool would it have been if George had stopped and offered Travyon a ride home in the rain.” Well this “Decient Americian”already had plans for the evening, a game of Cops and Robbers.

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      • How cool would it have been if George had stopped and offered Trayvon a ride home in the rain? Trayvon would never have gotten into the car, and Zimmerman has no idea how to be friendly and neighborly, no Ted Bundy. But if he had ever acquired those skills it would have been his dream to take the boy somewhere else torture him murder him and dump him.
        I really find my intellect insulted with the idea that an HOA would allow a renter to attend a meeting outrageous, and sounds exactly like George’s thinking. Homeowners discuss everything about owning the home renting and remedies, they have a treasurer to collect the HOA fees, and they always have a management company overseeing it all in this case Leland Management Kent Taylor is the managing agent. It would be dangerous and illegal to allow a renter to be able to know information not theirs to have, in fact it goes against the bylaws of the HOA. I don’t believe his story or O’Brien’s but O’Brien was just playing a role.
        Remember in the middle of this spiral into murder George was producing as he talked to Sean Knoffke, Knoffke asked what his apartment number was, and George corrected him and said it was a home. In the midst of his murderous spiral he was still in full on Psychopathic mode, he thinks he owns a home if not the whole neighborhood.

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  8. It would seem that the black police chief has been told by his racist gun owning boss’s that he would back down on the gun control! It does not really matter anyway, what he had said would happen came with no penalties anyway, so nothing was really lost anyway…. All he did was to put the carrot back into the bag!

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      • Xena, We discussed this “new” rule (non-law) a few days ago, and as was said at that time, the whole thing was simply a carrot dangled in front of the rabbit (black community) to let them think things were changing for the better… Does this new change have any effect on the law? Simply put, no, because the rule lacked any real penalty for violation, it was simply a series of letters and words that sounded good but said noting of substance… Remember, the more things change, the more they stay the same!!! Perhaps the next thing we will hear from the powers in charge in Sanford, Florida is that they are changing the name of their city to “Zimmieville” in honor of their favorite adopted son Georgie Zimmerman…

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      • LOL!

        Me too, Xena!

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    • It really doesn’t matter anyway, according to Robbie Jr’s tweet, George wasn’t on patrol.

      You know what’s worse than a Phatfogenfool…..a family of Phatfools.

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      • @dreamer.

        It really doesn’t matter anyway, according to Robbie Jr’s tweet, George wasn’t on patrol.

        Junior is full of it.

        On 2/7/12, Zimmerman was walking his dog and purportedly not patrolling, when he called NEN to report a suspicious person outside of Taaffe’s house. He was carrying a gun at that time. Frank Taaffe says so in the video below. Zimmerman identified himself to dispatch as NW.

        On 2/26/12, Zimmerman was purportedly going to Target when he spotted a “suspicious” guy. He did not tell NEN that he was NW. That was deliberate and demonstrates intent to go beyond the rules of NW. Zimmerman did not want to be recognized as NW because he had reason to know that the dispatcher would know the rules and expect for him to abide by them.

        His story about not being on patrol might carry some credibility had he not written in his statement, and told Serino, Singleton, and the guy conducting the voice stress test, about his experience on 2/7/12 that he directly associated with the reasons for his actions on 2/26/12. Zimmerman wanted recognition as NW after the fact.

        When Zimmerman dialed NEN to report a suspicious person, he put on his NW hat. To say otherwise is like saying that a licensed physician stops being one when he provides medical treatment to a person in the parking lot of the hospital while off duty. It’s the actions and not an on-or-of-duty claim that defines the actions and consequences.

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      • I can just think of that damn family & my blood boils! All we heard was how HORRIBLE things are here in America,the book Robert Sr wrote about every persons fault his IDIOT son was even being charged.There is one thing I am not understanding NOW.Since everything is so BAD here….why doesn’t the whole family pack up & go HOME to PERU?? Gee could it be the hefty retirement they get from our country that they hate? There is NOTHING holding them HERE! I say Don’t let the door hit you all in the ass!!

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        • @Marilyn C. HEY!!!!

          All Papa Zim did with that book was place himself on federal radar, along with Junior and Taaffe.

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  9. Lets be real….I think if anybody see’s anything suspicious in their community, they pick up the phone and report it. If the HOA allows NW to carry guns, they allow themselves to be held liable, I don’t see that happening. If they see their community has so much crime, there’s such a thing as hiring a security guard, unarmed or armed. At least they would know that person is fingerprinted, trained, and hasspassed the required test to become a guard. They are trained in areas of conflict, they wear a uniform and a badge. They know the laws and what their duties consist of. Chances are the are drug tested as well. That’s what HOA fees are suppose to go towards if needed. I’m sure the resident would not have a problem even if they charged.few extra dollars a month.

    Now that eliminates fruit cakes that patrol in their car with their lights off, who don’t identify themselves, who probably couldn’t pass the test, and can’t remember the street he’s on.
    Phatfogenfool could continue safely on his way to Target, and free up more of his time, allowing him to spend more time mentoring black children. We believe that one as much as we believe a trained non emergency operator would tell a citizen to follow a possible suspect, who is up to no good, who looks like he is on drugs or sumtpin, who has just aproached your vechicle reaching for something in his waistband. Yep, there’re trained to put citizens in danger. Unbelievable that someone who graduated HS ranked 315 out of 318, who was still trying to get that AA decree after 7 or so years, going for his bachelors at the same time, majoring in criminal justice, who was a bouncer, wanted to be a law inforcement officier or a judge, is a mentor, put himself in danger, and had to murder a kid, because he was following orders from the NEN.

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  10. Like

    • Xena, Eric Holder has just said what I have said since the start of the demand for the DOJ to become involved. There will be no charges until after the 2014 (mid term) elections, and I give one more tidbit to go along with that, unless the Democrats carry the elections by a good majority, there will be no charges filed against Zimmerman! Wouldn’t it be great to live in a county where the criminal justice system was immune from political forces? I actually don’t think this petty criminal will survive long enough to serve time for his crimes, he will be taken out by one of his former supporters. The racist supporters of Zimmerman will never let him go on trial for being one of them, simply because he, while a racist, lacks the one basic necessary requirement for belonging to their club, the pigment of his skin does not match the color of their white sheets…. I don’t think Zimmerman has yet understood it is not him they are defending, it is their right to be racist and bigots that they defend and he was/is simply an available poster child!

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      • @crazy1946.

        I don’t think Zimmerman has yet understood it is not him they are defending, it is their right to be racist and bigots that they defend and he was/is simply an available poster child!

        Absolutely. They could care less about Zimmerman. Had Rev. Sharpton not became involved and organized protests, there would be no “Zimmerman supporters.” They see Rev. Sharpton as a Black man having too much power. That spilled over to attorney Benjamin Crump.

        Even now, the same folks have taken interest in the Kendrick Johnson situation, not because they support any authorities in Georgia. Rather, it’s because attorney Crump has joined the legal team representing KJ’s parents. Until that was announced, former “Zimmerman supporters” had no opinion on the situation. After attorney Crump announced joining the legal team, White Supremacists support it was an accidental death and claim to know everything, including what Kendrick ate for breakfast.

        There will be no charges until after the 2014 (mid term) elections,

        That might be true. Can’t argue for or against it. Last night, I took at look at some FBI press releases for arrests and/or convictions. There is a case where investigation began in 2004. IIRC, the person was not charged until 2009 and sentencing was this year. There were numerous charges and counts. That’s how the DOJ operates. They are not likely to charge Zimmerman with ONLY violating Trayvon’s civil rights. By the end of their investigation, there might be a civil rights violation charge, then there might not be, but there will be other charges under federal jurisdiction.

        AG Holder also said at the press conference that the DOJ is “reviewing” the case. That speaks volumes about their looking into others involved in the case.

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