The Arkansas City Police Department has begun efforts to re-establish Neighborhood Watch chapters across the city.

Arkansas City Police Department logoThere currently are no formal Neighborhood Watch groups in existence in Ark City, although the program was thriving many years ago.

ACPD is attempting to jumpstart the program back to life in conjunction with its upcoming National Night Out celebration in early October.

“Neighborhood Watch is a practiced concept of neighbors looking out for one another, working with the police and sending the message to potential criminals that our citizens have their eyes out, keeping watch for suspicious and criminal activity,” said School Resource Officer Chase Hobart.

The primary goal of the Neighborhood Watch program is to deter criminal behavior in the community.

As part of this effort, ACPD has shifted two of its officers to a nontraditional “swing shift” for the purpose of community policing.

Officers Tyrone “T.J.” Hall and Wade Hammond will patrol from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., which tend to be the busiest hours for the police department.

Neighborhood Watch groups will be organized in such a way that each block has a block captain who assists in passing the information along to each of the block’s residents. They will also check in with the chairperson, who is in charge of arranging meetings and maintaining the larger group.

Citizens still should call 911 for emergencies or to report crimes. However, they also will be able to report suspicious ongoing activity to their chairperson, who can help to inform the rest of the neighborhood about what has been going on.

“The police department can’t function without the community,” said ACPD Capt. Mark McCaslin.

Each Neighborhood Watch group is required to meet at least once a year to remain current.

ACPD officers will be available to attend those neighborhood meetings.

One of the primary benefits of the watch groups is to increase awareness and cohesiveness in local neighborhoods.

“Never think you’re bothering us when you call,” said ACPD Lt. Eric Burr. “We’re here for you — please call.”