Block Clubs Embrace Added Neighborhood Watch Training

11:09 PM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - The George Zimmerman trial and outcome has an outspoken Buffalo council member calling on the city's block clubs to do more neighborhood watch training.

But, what kind of training would that involve?

And how are block clubs reacting to the proposal?

Councilman Darius Pridgen wants all block clubs in the city to do enhanced neighborhood watch training that would be mandatory. Right now, block clubs get some training from Buffalo Police, but it's not enhanced and not required.

"I thought that it would be important within the City of Buffalo, the second-largest city in the state of New York, for us to be ahead of the ball," said Pridgen. 

 

The enhanced training would include how to avoid racial profiling, how to help police respond to problems, and how to talk with dispatchers, so police get the information they need.

Pridgen says the training is needed and a block club leader we spoke to on Tuesday says he's okay with it. But, no one is quite sure how it would be set up.

"I'm not the one who would put together the training module, part of the resolution is asking for a training module to be put together with the Board of Block Clubs," said Pridgen.

Rich Lee, the coordinator of Block Clubs and Neighborhood Associations says, "it's okay with us for a council member or any public official to ask us to do more, we are stretched to the limit and we would be glad to sit down with any public official and ask them to work with us."

It's unclear where the experts would come from to do the enhanced training. If the clubs don't do the training, then their registrations could be at risk. One big issue with this effort is the possible cost and questions about who would pay for it.

"I don't know if there will be an added cost, I would hope that if there is an added cost for materials, that we would find those materials for them because we have wonderful block clubs," said Pridgen.

The block clubs already train about 1,000 people a year and that costs in total about $4,000.

Enhanced training could boost the cost. Pridgen says the city will find the money, possibly in the budget to pay for the training at more than 517 block clubs in the city.

"We think it's terrific that various officials in our towns and villages and cities urge people to participate in neighborhood watch training and to roll up their sleeves and help their neighbors," said Lee.  

 

Pridgen's resolution went in front of Common Council Tuesday and it was approved unanimously. This means all block clubs need to have a training system in place by the end of the year.

 

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