The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, triggered a national debate about racial profiling and gun control — and about “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and other states that permit civilians to defend themselves if they feel threatened.
But one aspect of the shooting has received comparatively little attention: the public safety role played by civilian volunteer groups.
From neighborhood watch groups to uniformed auxiliary police, these organizations act as the “eyes and ears” of police departments in hundreds of U.S. communities. And they are often a welcome and significant reinforcement to public safety in an era of overstretched municipal budgets.
But an investigation by the Crime Report shows that the standards and procedures that govern the activities of such civilian police volunteers are ambiguous and uneven across the country.
1. I like mine. I'm not physically capable of joining the effort
but they've been great at identifying neighborhood problems. Confirmed drug houses have found themselves surrounded by people banging pots and pans all night and phoning in all license tag numbers to the police. They move elsewhere.
Yes, they're armed with pots and pans and cell phones. We've had enough of swaggering idiots with guns in this area.