Stevensville Police Chief James Marble is accepting applications from Town residents who may wish to participate in the town’s new Stevensville Crime Watch program and become a Zone Captain. The program is a homegrown version of the well-known Neighborhood Crime Watch program and was formed to bring together law enforcement, community members and local entities to help reduce crime.
According to Marble, the town is being split into zones and a captain will be appointed in each zone who is responsible for making contact with their neighbors in that specific zone and, if the neighbors so choose, they can sign up with name and phone number to participate in the program.
“Really what we are looking for is essentially an open line of communication between the zone captains and the police department so when people see suspicious activity or have some complaints that aren’t emergencies, such as city code violations of some sort, they can contact the zone captains and they can take it to us for some sort of mitigation,” said Marble. “Basically, it’s an information hub for keeping track of things in zones and trying to keep ahead of any problems.”
Marble said the information exchange was a two-way street. He said it also allows the police department to get word out in a neighborhood about suspicious activity that comes up on their radar.
The position of Zone Captain involves no real enforcement duties such as a Reserve Deputy may have and it doesn’t replace 911 for emergency calls. Marble said if there is a crime actually taking place people need to call the police department.
“The zone captain job is just a better way to have better communication with the public and it gives us the ability to reach a large number of people through one contact, increasing our efficiency,” said Marble.
A couple of applications have already been received, according to Marble, but more are needed for full coverage in all zones. He said there may be co-captains as well to enable some flexibility in the captains’ schedules for coverage when someone is away.
The Police Department in Stevensville currently has three full-time officers, including Chief James Marble, Officer John Ellington, who has five years of experience and Officer Jacob Guida who just returned from the Academy and is undergoing field training under the supervision of Officer Ellington.
Marble said that while some people are calling for disbanding police departments in some parts of the nation, the Stevensville Police Department is enjoying a lot of support.
“It’s nice to see the community as a whole and the businesses supporting law enforcement,” said Marble. “It’s a community and we are all in this together. It is very important to me and really appreciated that we have people around here who will step up and help to increase our efficiency and effectiveness without burdening the taxpayer.”
He said a couple of the latest donations included a $10,000 gift specifically for the police department from Rick Harrison. Marble said the money would be used to purchase equipment and upgrade old equipment that needs it.
Another recent donation came from local resident and business owner Darren Newsom, of ACI, who donated a few Rock Island Armory 1911 pistols. The 10mm pistols will be used as service weapons by the department.