Local News

Orange County agencies work to keep community safe

Posted September 9, 2008 11:20 a.m. EDT
Updated September 9, 2008 10:37 p.m. EDT

— Employees of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and the Orange Water and Sewer Authority will be trained to help spot criminal activity and public safety hazards as part of a new initiative.

The “Community Safety Partnership,” announced Tuesday, was developed after Chapel Hill experienced an increase in property crimes during the day.

"Public servants who regularly work outside in the community in various capacities already are a great a resource and have potential to be even more helpful to residents,” Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy said in a press release.

Employees will be encouraged to notify law enforcement if they come upon a variety of situations,  including reckless or impaired drivers, crimes in progress and illegal burning.

The workers are not being trained to physically intervene in situations.

Logos will be placed on participants’ vehicles so citizens will be able to identify these workers and ask for help, if needed, officials said.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian Curran said he is hoping these employees can be the “eyes and ears on the ground” for the department.

"We don't have a whole lot of those folks so that's why we are looking for some of those operational departments to help us be eyes and ears on the ground out there,” Curran said.

Training is expected to be complete at the end of this month. Eventually, officials said more than 1,000 workers will receive training.

Fayetteville has a similar program.