Public invited to meet new chief, learn about Neighborhood Watch

November 10, 2013 • Local News

Roswell Police Department Chief of Police Phil Smith will be at the neighborhood watch meeting Tuesday night at Roswell High School. (Courtesy Photo)

The public will have a chance Tuesday night to meet Roswell Police Department’s new police chief, Phil Smith, learn about how to better protect their neighborhoods and eat some pizza.

City Councilors Jason Perry and Barry Foster have organized the Neighborhood Watch meeting, to start 6 p.m. at the Roswell High School’s Little Theater on West Hobbs Street.

Peter Piper Pizza will provide pizza and drinks and parents are welcome to bring children to the one-hour meeting.

“If [auth] you would like to learn about how to protect your home and your family, we would like to encourage you to come,” Perry said. “This is where I live. These are the people I represent. I want to concentrate on helping people as much as possible.”

Though the meeting will be held in the southern area of the city, all residents are welcome to join the discussion to ask questions about neighborhood watch and meet the new police chief.

Smith was hired at the beginning of this month, following the retirement of Chief Al Solis. During the announcement of his new position, Smith said one of his goals was to have Roswell be a safe place to live.

Smith’s goals also include building relationships with state and county agencies to reduce victimization and prevent crime in the Roswell community. His experience in modern policing techniques includes 27 years as a law enforcement leader.

He started as a patrolman at the Salem, N.H. Police Department and became a lieutenant. He was chief of police in Alton, N.H.

Perry hopes the public will participate at the meeting to learn more about how they can get involved in Neighborhood Watch programs.

“In Roswell, most of our crime is in two parts: either crime that is domestic violence, drug violence, or crimes of opportunity,” Perry said.

Neighborhood Watch groups around the city exist to allow residents to “become the eyes and ears of the Roswell Police Department,” said Richard Lucero, a Neighborhood Watch advisor for the city.

The city has some 88 neighborhoods involved in the program. They are designed to protect areas by teaching residents who live in participating areas become more aware of certain activities.

“They do not get physically involved in any way,” Lucero said.

Participating residents become more diligent about watching for suspicious activity. Some programs have resulted in foiling burglary rings being identified, for instance, Lucero said.

“Some crime has been stopped before it happened,” Lucero said. “It also gives people the opportunity to get to know their neighbors like they used to. They learn who their neighbors are and to trust them. It really does work in that way.”

For more information about Tuesday’s meeting, call Lucero at 622-7233.

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