The village of Genoa’s police chief has high hopes for a decent turnout at an April 5 meeting to organize a Block Watch program.
“The notices were sent out in water bills,” said Police Chief Bob Bratton. “We should have a good crowd – if the number of people who’ve told me they saw the notices in the water bills is any indication.”
The April 5 meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Genoa Fire Hall. Refreshments will be served.
The meeting originally had been planned for this week but was changed because of a conflict with the Northwest Ohio Mayor’s Association, said Village Administrator Kevin Gladden.
Block Watch is a community-based program that empowers residents to work with law enforcement in a consistent manner to help police a community. This is Genoa’s first attempt to launch a Block Watch Program.
“We’ve never had this before,” Gladden said. “New chief, new start.”
Bratton said a series of home and vehicle burglaries earlier this year did not spur the push for the program.
“This is something they talked with me about starting when they hired me,” said Bratton. He became Genoa police chief in September after resigning as Ottawa County sheriff.
The success of Block Watch lies in residents taking charge and remaining involved, he said.
“The thing I want to stress is we don’t have a lot going on crime-wise now,” Bratton said. “The big thing is to get organized.”
That organizational plan involves choosing leaders who will help run the program – assisting with community updates and crime-prevention seminars as well as planning guest speakers such as prosecutors and judges. Bratton anticipates the group meeting every two months.
One example of a successful program is the Allen Township Block Watch Program, Bratton said. “They’ve really had a pretty good program running up there for years,” Bratton said.
Currently, the department communicates with residents via social media through its Facebook account.
When the Block Watch Program is up and running, “We’ll tell people we have things going on so they can attend,” Bratton said.
Genoa’s police department recently updated its computer system and is in the midst of a number of program changes.
A new website is in the works which will include a link to the Block Watch Program, he said.