New Bern Police Dept. starts citizen’s patrol

NEW BERN, N.C.- (WNCT) A new citizen’s program in New Bern may help police respond more quickly to crime.

Citizen Observation Patrol, or COP, has been formed to use specially trained citizens to patrol the streets and report on suspicious activity.

The purpose of the program is to aid and support the New Bern Police Department in the prevention of crime and to promote public safety.

Police and community coming together is the slogan of the New Bern Police Department, and something they are taking more seriously through this program.

A volunteer with the citizen observation patrol, Kurt Neumeister, said he volunteered because, ” I felt that the police department needed some help with people calling in anything that needed to be called in.” c

The New Bern Police are asking volunteers to help act as their eyes and ears to make their communities more safe.

People wishing to become COP volunteers will have to go through a process and be trained on the observation of suspicious behavior.

Sergeant John Smith said, “In order to become a volunteer you have to do what’s called a volunteer packet. One of the key things in there is we do a background, we do a finger printing, and also a reference check to make sure you are somebody that will represent the city in a favorable way.”

While many cities have citizen patrols, police say this one is special.

That’s because volunteers are trained to use police radios, which will cut response time instead of calls going through a dispatcher.

Neumeister said while he had to learn all of the police codes, he likes knowing he can call directly.

“I had to call in and say I was on duty, and I’m listening to it and it’s really fantastic,” said Neumeister.

As to why he felt compelled to volunteer for this program, “I’m retired and I like to give back what I’ve gotten. It’s as simple as that.”

There is no expense to the city for the program, except a volunteer’s time. Smith said the department will use radios it already has for the COP volunteers.

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