Local News

Rocky Mount Neighborhood Watch looking into hiring off-duty officers

Posted December 5, 2008 3:32 p.m. EST
Updated December 5, 2008 6:33 p.m. EST

— Off-duty police officers are often hired for security at restaurants and movie theaters. Now the Rocky Mount Neighborhood Watch program is exploring paying them to patrol neighbors.

“We've had a lot of break-ins here,” said Carole Reda, president of the West Haven Neighborhood Watch.

Reda says that is why her group is exploring hiring off-duty officers to patrol.

“We needed to get people out – eyes and ears – to make sure we're watching out for our neighbors and for each other,” Reda said.

“It's a very rare request; however, it's not something we've never seen before,” said Capt. Laura Fahnestock, with the Rocky Mount Police Department.

Fahnestock says on-duty officers already patrol the West Haven neighborhood and will continue whether or not additional officers are hired by the Neighborhood Watch.

“We want to make sure that all citizens understand that we are making sure every area, every neighborhood, is receiving the same level of service,” she said.

West Haven surrounds Lakeside Baptist Church, where two Meals on Wheels workers were violently attacked.

Eve Beasley, 60, and her longtime friend, Debbie Kornegay, each were stabbed multiple times inside the kitchen at the church on Oct. 18, 2007. Kornegay died of her wounds. Beasley spent weeks recovering at Pitt Memorial Hospital.

The crime has not been forgotten by those who live nearby. Reda says neighbors just want extra protection and are not trying to condemn the current role of police.

“They've been great and we've been in constant contact with them,” she said.

Officers say the West Haven neighborhood has one of the most active Neighborhood Watch programs in the city, something they would like to see more of throughout Rocky Mount.

“They're sharing information with us. We have an outstanding relationship with the West Haven community,” Fahnestock said.

Neighbors met to discuss the plan last month. The community would have to pay $30 an hour for an off-duty officer.