Security.htm  June 30, 2005  -- Geoff article July3

New Security Vehicle Donated July 2007

 

Another version of this is at http://www.umtv.org/archives/church_crime_stoppers.htm

See Church Battles Crime On Web By GEOFF FOX below

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Church takes ministry into streets by patrolling against crime

March 22, 2005    News media contact:  Tita Parham*    
407-897-1184   
tparham@flumc.org     Orlando  {0266}

An e-Review Feature
By Nancy Johnson**

TRILBY The stillness of Trilby's hilly countryside masks a growing problem for the small town.
 
"There's narcotics crimes, drugs, robberies," said longtime resident Keith Moody.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Department responds to as many calls for service as it can. But now, a small group of neighbors is providing backup. In January, Herb Green, the choir director at Trilby United Methodist Church, formed Trilby's first security patrol.
 
"Some drug traffic is moving in from adjoining neighborhoods. The main reason we started this is we wanted to keep drugs out of Trilby," Green said.

The patrol unit has 17 volunteer officers. They took a four-hour course at the sheriff's office and passed criminal background checks. They wear badges and ride in makeshift police cruisers. Their newest car is a donation from Marny Walker, a longtime member of Trilby United Methodist Church. After a trip to the body shop, her 1984 Pontiac Bonneville will ride the streets of Trilby, fighting crime.

"We want to make sure people feel safe in their community and they can walk down the street and not be harmed," said the Rev. Juan Marcos Garay, the church pastor. "People worry about their chickens, their cows, their pigs."

The security patrol acts as the eyes and ears of the sheriff's department. Officers respond to a variety of citizen complaints about problems such as prostitution rings, drunk drivers and burglaries.
 
"We had a 90-year-old woman call and wanted us to stop by. She had somebody looking in her windows," Green said.

Neighbors worry also about a suspected crack house. When a green light shines in the window, it's open for business. 

"That's one of the reasons I'm glad to see a crime watch because it's a big deterrent to keep drugs out of this area," said Scott Nichols, a Trilby resident. "With these guys around, it would be more or less impossible for anybody to set up operation out here. So that's terrific."

The patrol plans to add more officers and patrol cars. Green said he plans to require that all officers attend the Citizens Police Academy. He considers it his divine duty to help keep his community safe.

"You ought to do something to put something back into society without being reimbursed for it."

###

This article was originally produced for United Methodist News Service in Nashville, Tenn., and distributed March 18, 2005.

This article relates to the Outreach.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Johnson is a freelance writer and producer in Tampa, Fla.

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Church Battles Crime On Web

By GEOFF FOX gfox@tampatrib.com
Published: Jul 3, 2005

TRILBY - It isn't exactly an episode of ``Cops,'' but a 1- minute, 30-second video about the community's Security Patrol is featured on a United Methodist Communications Web site.

The segment, titled ``Church Crime Stoppers,'' appears on www.umtv.org. A print version was published by United Methodist News Service.

The episode details a day in the civic life of Security Patrol Director Herb Green, 78, who also is president of the Greater Trilby Community Association and choir director at Trilby United Methodist church.

``They came out on a Sunday and did some video in the church,'' Green said recently as he recovered from a knee operation. ``Then they took some shots of the steeple and rode with [patrol member] Keith Moody and me and interviewed us.''

Also interviewed are the Rev. Juan Garay of Trilby United Methodist and Kenneth Larsen, brother-in-law of the late Marny Walker, who donated her Pontiac Bonneville to the patrol.

Pam Price, Web producer at www.umtv.org, said the segment was produced in March. The Web site contracts with several producers across the country, she said.

United Methodist Communications is based in Nashville.

Established in January, the patrol monitors the rural, unincorporated area west of U.S. 98 in cars with magnetic Security Patrol signs on the side and a flashing amber light on top. Patrol members report suspicious activity to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office but don't carry weapons.

 

Reporter Geoff Fox can be reached at (813) 948-4217.