Mishawaka parks patrolled by civilians

By: Marcie Kobriger Email
By: Marcie Kobriger Email

Starting tonight, Mishawaka Police will have another team of people keeping an eye on the city's river walk parks.

Volunteers with the newly formed Civilians in Alliance with Police (CAP) program will be roving three miles worth of river walk trails.

The hope is they'll be able to help out park goers who need help, and cut down on park vandalism.

“We've had basically small nuisance type crimes. Skateboarders doing some minor damage, people who spray paint, just some minor damage to the park,” Assistant Police Chief Mike Samp tells NewsCenter 16.

Minor damage can add up to some major bucks, and a lot of time spent for park department employees.

“Whether it be little things like turning the trash cans all back upright, or covering the spray paint or fixing the toilets it does take a lot of time; we’d certainly love our staff to spend their time doing other things to enhance the park,” Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea says.

To enhance the park experience, the Mishawaka Police Department is enlisting help from the community.

Tom Klaer and Woody Emmons will be the first team to patrol the three miles of River Walk trails with the new CAP program.

“We’re just another set of eyes and ears for the police department, and for the parks department to keep our parks neat and safe and to encourage people to come down,” Emmons says.

Starting Wednesday night, a pair of volunteers will patrol the parks; offering assistance to park goers and looking out for would be vandals.

They’ll be patrolling in golf carts outfitted with emergency medical equipment and police radios.

They're tools that will help keep the parks clean and safe, and will be used by the community’s real gems--its citizens.

“We don’t want them to do police work but we want them to be our eyes and ears, so well give them some very basic skills and well put them to work!” Mayor Rea says.

CAP is looking for additional park patrol volunteers. If you'd like to get involved, contact the Mishawaka police department at 258-1678; ask for Assistant Chief Mike Samp.

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