First Ward Community Watch meeting slated

ELKINS — The initial Community Watch meeting for Second Ward in Elkins is set for Tuesday.

Elkins Police Department officers will lead the meeting, set for 5 p.m. Tuesday in the classroom at the Phil Gainer Community Center.

This will be the third Community Watch meeting held in the last six months. A meeting for both Fourth and Fifth Wards was held Nov. 20, and a meeting for First Ward took place Feb. 6.

Elkins Police Chief Glenn Galloway said a variety of information will be shared at the meetings, including trainings on how to report information to the police.

About 20 residents attended the initial start-up Community Watch meeting for Fourth Ward and Fifth Ward at Elkins City Hall on Nov. 20.

Four Elkins Police Department officers led the meeting, providing information on the program and gathering feedback.

“This is not going to be a ‘civilians on patrol’ type of watch, where residents are actively walking and driving through the neighborhood patrolling,” said Senior Patrolman K.A. Shiflett.

“This is going to be a community watch, which is pretty much neighbors helping neighbors.”

Shiflett said Community Watch participants will be asked to document suspicious and possibly criminal activity — by writing down license plate numbers and car descriptions, for example — and report it to the EPD.

Two officers will be assigned to each ward to communicate with residents, Shiflett said.

Each ward will have a citizen watch commander, a resident who will have to undergo “a full background investigation” and be interviewed by officers, Shiflett said.

More than 50 residents took part in the first meeting of the Community Watch for First Ward Feb. 6 at Jennings Randolph Elementary School.

Galloway and four officers led the meeting, emphasizing that residents need to call 911 if they witness a crime or suspicious behavior.

Shiflett, who Galloway has put in charge of the Community Watch program, handed out spread sheets to residents for use in writing down serial numbers and descriptions of their property, for use if any of their belongings need to be reported stolen. He also handed out sheets designed to help residents keep “personal firearm records” of their property.

During a training session, Galloway demonstrated for the crowd how important it is to give accurate, detailed descriptions of people and/or vehicles when calling 911.