Raleigh Signs Up First Greenway Volunteers for New Watch Program

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Jayne Kirkpatrick, Director, Public Affairs

Prepared by: John Boyette, Public Affairs Specialist


For more information: Bruce Embry, Volunteer Coordinator, Raleigh Police Department, 919-996-1118, or bruce.embry@raleighnc.gov


Aug. 15, 2012


Raleigh Signs Up First Greenway Volunteers for New Watch Program


In serving a growing metropolis, the City of Raleigh Police Department cannot possibly be in all places at all times. Residents in community watch programs are counted upon to be the eyes and ears of the Police Department. Now, a new type of watch program has been launched --- this one for the many miles of greenway trails in Raleigh.


The City has signed up the first six members of its Greenway Volunteer Program. These volunteers had to pass a criminal background check and meet other qualifications before they could be enrolled in the program. They will undergo three hours of training, planned for September, before they begin their duties.


Additional residents are expected to become volunteers in the program, a joint project of the City’s Police and Parks and Recreation departments. The City began accepting applications from potential volunteers on Aug. 1.


Greenway volunteers will help monitor conditions on City-owned greenways as well as report criminal or suspicious activity. They will promote greenway courtesy and safety, provide information to the public and, when needed, summon aid for greenway users. Volunteers will not directly intervene in an emergency situation but will contact the Police Department for assistance.


In addition to serving the community, a key benefit of being a greenway volunteer is that they can perform their duties while still doing their regular leisure activities on the trials, be it walking, jogging , bicycling, bird watching or whatever.


To be eligible for the Greenway Volunteer Program, participants must be at least 18 years old without any felony or Class A misdemeanor convictions, donate at least eight hours a month to patrolling trails, and contact the Police Department at the beginning and end of their shift. Though volunteers will be given a shirt and vest with a logo identifying them as a greenway volunteer, they will use their own equipment and are asked to carry their own cellphone to contact the Police Department. (NOTE: The program logo is attached).


The short training session required of all volunteers essentially covers “what is expected of them in terms of what to do and what not to do,” said Bruce Embry, volunteer coordinator for the Police Department. Legal issues relating to the program also are discussed in the training, which is provided by the Police Department.


The idea of having regular greenway users conduct volunteer patrols on trails was borne out of a meeting that included City Council Member Randall Stagner, Police Chief Harry Dolan and Mr. Embry. The proposal was presented to staff in the City’s Parks and Recreation and Community Services departments and the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center, as well as to members of the bicycling community. The City Council received a report about the new program at its July 17 meeting.


To promote the Greenway Volunteer Program, announcements have been made on the City’s Raleigh Television Network and the City’s website, fliers were distributed to the City’s Citizens Advisory Councils, and posters were put up at City parks and recreation facilities and at some local bicycle and sporting goods stores. The City also is using social media to inform citizens about the program, including Facebook and Twitter.


To learn more about the City of Raleigh Greenway Volunteer Program, contact Mr. Embry at 919-996-1118 or email rpdvolunteer@raleighnc.gov. Information also is available on the City of Raleigh’s website at www.raleighnc.gov (Type “City of Raleigh Greenway Volunteer Program” in the search engine).