Neighborhood watch program up and running

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By Stephen Lega

The Lebanon Police want your help, so they can help you. Part of that effort has been the formation of a local neighborhood watch program.
“It’s getting people in the community involved,” said Sgt. Donald Jewell, who is the neighborhood watch coordinator for the police department.
Jewell said the groundwork for the program started under former Lebanon Police Chief Joe Bell, and the first neighborhood watch group was formed about a year and a half ago.
Four or five neighborhood watch groups are in place, and a few others are in the process of forming, according to Jewell.
He added that Bryce Shumate of the Radcliff Police Department has assisted Lebanon in getting its neighborhood watch program up and running. The Lebanon police also received a $1,500 grant to assist with the program from the Lincoln Trail Regional Citizens Corps Council.
Lebanon Police Chief Wally Brady said the program has been beneficial for the police and for the neighborhoods where the program is in place.
“They understand that they are our eyes and ears on the streets,” Brady said. “And it has curtailed some crime in those areas.”
Jewell explained that there are two to four officers on patrol at any time in Lebanon. Neighborhood watch groups give the department more eyes to watch for something that doesn’t seem right.
But it’s not just about the police, according to Jewell.
“It’s more neighbor watching out for neighbor, like it used to be,” he said.
Judy Bickett is the captain of her watch group for a neighborhood near Graham Memorial Park. Bickett said they have had several meetings, and those meetings have helped build relationships with the police and among the people in her neighborhood.
She recalled that there had been a few break-ins on her block before the watch group was formed. She also knows if she sees something suspicious, then she should contact the police.
“We know if there’s something we think doesn’t look right, and they come right out,” Bickett said.
According to Jewell, people who live in any area tend to know what people and what vehicles are usually in their neighborhood, and that means they are more likely to recognize if something is out of place.
Jewell said the department tries to meet with the neighborhood watches monthly, and the meetings are informal.
“It gives me a chance to show what’s going on with the police department that they don’t get to hear about,” Jewell said.
The meetings include conversations between the police and the public, but the neighbors usually spend time talking to one another as well. Jewell said the police had received tips on investigations from their conversations with the public and from the neighbors’ conversations among themselves.
“Officer Jewell has been a jewell,” Bickett said.
She added that her neighborhood group has also met with Police Chief Wally Brady, Assistant Chief Greg Young and Officer Henry Keene. Bickett also said the meetings helped them improve communication with the department.
“The Lebanon Police Department is very, very helpful,” she said. “They do what they say they’re going to do.”
Anyone interested in forming a neighborhood watch can contact the Lebanon Police Department at (270) 692-2121 and ask for Sgt. Jewell. If he isn’t available, he said to leave a message and he will get back to you.