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Citizens on patrol

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Citizens are going on patrol in the Magic City. Several people graduated from the city's first "Citizens on Patrol program." They'll help police spot crime.

"I want to help my neighbors and look out for the community to keep Birmingham safe." Lynn Roberts is one of ten men and women who are now graduates of the first Citizens on Patrol program which means they'll soon be patrolling streets in the Woodlawn community.

Renita Higgens, Executive Director of Community Policing says "If there's enough people riding around taking in what's going on they're also going to be ambassadors to the citizens for the police department." It's a pilot program that police hope will help crime fighting efforts.

Woodlawn Community President Bertha Nettles wanted to do something extra to make her community safer. "If the police have more eyes and ears which we will be, it will make it better for them to come to the site quicker and would have better descriptions of the incidents."

They won't carry weapons but will be in uniform, and will ride in patrol cars. After completing the citizens police academy, they spent 8 weeks learning things those in the regular police academy know.

"They get a little more in-depth training and how to observe and report citizens. Sergeant Michelle Moore says the program is also in Chelsea which has been successful in reducing the crime rate. Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper hopes the program will expand beyond Woodlawn. "Our first six months, crime was down 11 percent across the city when in so many cities crime is up. we've gained progress since then, but we know we can do better and have having more citizens involved is going to help us tremendously."

Citizens on patrol are expected to head out in the next couple of weeks.. as soon as their equipment is ready. Donated funds from the Woodlawn Foundation helped make this program happen.

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