November 22, 2014

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Lorain police start outreach meetings with block watches

LORAIN — This week marked the start of what Lorain police Sgt. Mike Failing hopes will be a new beginning for block watch members and police in Lorain.

On Thursday, block watch members from the east side flooded Longfellow Middle School for the first of several meetings with police to discuss creating a better connection between the department and the public.

“We’re trying to be their eyes and ears,” East Side Block Watch member J.R. Lee said.

In an hour-long presentation, Lorain police Sgt. Mike Failing, Detective Rick Soto and Police Chief Cel Rivera discussed ways that average citizens and block watch members can work with police.

Failing talked about a new system where citizens can send anonymous text tips to police dispatchers, a website called “ReportIt” that allows anyone to make a list of their belongings in case they are ever pawned and online police reports, which the public can use to keep track of crimes in their area.

Thursday’s presentation was the first of five that the Police Department plans to hold around the city.

The goal is to make the department more accessible to residents who want to keep an eye out for their neighborhoods, Failing said.

For block watch members and police alike, the effort is a good one, albeit long overdue.

“I know you’re frustrated, I know we neglected you,” Failing said, adding that these meetings with block watch members and residents will hopefully be a new start to their relationship.

Some block watch members at the meeting Thursday expressed concern that police are busy focusing on the “big issues” like catching drug traffickers rather than smaller offenses.

“Sometimes it doesn’t look like anything,” Failing said, assuring residents that while police investigate many smaller crimes “behind the scenes,” their efforts often go unnoticed.

Police anticipate the meeting Thursday would be the largest of the five presentations. They plan to hold the same presentation all around Lorain, Failing said.

“We (want to) get the community engaged,” he added.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.


  • Gun toting cracker

    This Dept is as corrupt as they come. From violating citizens civil rights, (Aaron Septaric), to being investigated by the DOJ, all the way to leading the witness in the Joe Allen / Nancy Smith case.

    If you believe any thing that comes out of this Dept. then believe this, ” If you like your health plan, you can keep it.”

    As long as Rivera is Chief, it probably won’t get better or change if the next Chief is hired internally.

  • golfingirl

    I would recommend neighborhood “concealed carry” classes.

    If a criminal knows everyone on a street is armed, my guess is they will look elsewhere, for a much easier target.

    So we can have two sets of neighborhoods, those which are armed, those with people who choose not to be. Post the streets accordingly, (maybe put a silhouette of a pistol right on the street sign).

    Where would you rather live?

    My street says “no outlet” on the street sign. I can assure you if you pick my house in the middle of the night, there likely will be “no outlet.”