VERNON -- Could a neighborhood watch thrive in Vernon?
Interim police Chief Keith Clark will attempt to answer that question in the coming weeks as officials seek to revive the initiative, which emphasizes crime prevention through citizen awareness.
"I know there are a lot of people in this town who are interested in at least learning about it," said Patty O’Donnell, who chairs Vernon’s Selectboard.
At Monday’s Selectboard meeting, O’Donnell said a previous effort to drum up interest in a neighborhood watch failed due to a lack of volunteers.
"No one showed up, and people were really disappointed," she said.
And, while the board had discussed simply erecting neighborhood-watch signs as a crime deterrent, both Clark and Vernon police Sgt. Bruce Gauld advised against that.
"You can’t just put up neighborhood watch signs," Gauld said. "You actually have to have a neighborhood watch."
Clark, who also serves as Windham County sheriff and is filling in temporarily for Vernon Chief Mary Beth Hebert, said he has had to remove old neighborhood watch signs in areas where a watch no longer was active.
Clark said he would seek out former Vernon watch volunteers to gauge interest in a new organization. A neighborhood watch has the potential to serve as "a great way to leverage your police department," Clark said.
"Once you get it set up, it pretty much runs itself," he said.
"It’s not a complicated process," Clark said. "But it really has to come from the neighborhood."
In other business Monday, the Selectboard recognized Road Commissioner David Walker for undergoing additional training.
"We really, really appreciate your hard work," O’Donnell said.
Also, the board approved a $17,000 contract with Howe’s Lawn Care of Winchester, N.H., for 2013 cemetery maintenance.
Mike Faher can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.