The Rosedale Civilian Patrol is seeking additional volunteers because it has had problems getting volunteers to work at night for the last few years.
“It is not as active as before. We would like to double our membership to cover more days of the week,” said James English, vice chairman of the Rosedale Civic Association, who has been an active member since 1993.
The organization, sponsored and coordinated by the Rosedale Civic Association, currently has about 14 members and has been in operation for approximately 17 years under the auspices of the 105th Precinct.
English said that over the years, most of the members have either moved out of the neighborhood, left due to old age or are away when the warmer months come around.
At one time, the members ranged between 18 and 81.ages. Currently, the patrol’s oldest member is 89.
The civilian patrol assists the Police Department in maintaining the personal safety of community residents and visitors by randomly patrolling schools, churches, escorting people walking home from Sunrise Highway, Francis Lewis and Merrick Boulevards, the Jamaica Business Center and the Long Island Rail Road.
English said volunteers are needed mostly for Thursdays and Fridays because they are considered higher-crime nights. He would like to double the membership to at least 30 people.
To join the civilian patrol, members must be over 18 years old and possess a driver’s license. Before executing volunteer patrol functions, all participants undergo a rigorous background check by the Police Department to qualify for picture identification cards and amber light permits for patrol cars.
Thereafter, volunteers receive comprehensive training from the 105th Precinct, which involves knowing how to properly identify a suspect, using caution and appropriate procedures.
The volunteers, who typically act as the eyes and ears of the Police Department, are not allowed to carry weapons or even handcuffs. They are encouraged not to confront people they suspect are committing a crime, but to report it.
“We are required to have two people in the car at all times. One pays attention to the driving and the other does the observation,” English said.
The civilian patrol members identify themselves by wearing a jacket or T-shirt. They have one official car, but members sometimes use their personal cars, which have to be outfitted with a siren, radios, mobile phones and road safety and repair equipment. The equipment includes cones, flares and booster cables and three-inch lettering—removable or permanent—that identifies the vehicle.
English urges people in the community, who want to be in a better and safer place, to join as soon as possible.
Those interested in becoming a part of the Rosedale Civilian Patrol should call 718-978-4701 for additional information.