Some watch groups reviewing policies after Trayvon Martin shooting

Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-12 19:25:19-04

BELLEVUE, Va. (WTVR) - In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting by a neighborhood watch volunteer, some local community watchers are reviewing their policies.

CBS 6 News took a ride with a veteran patrol volunteer Thursday to talk safety.

Jerry Devoss, a captain with the Bellevue Security Patrol in the Bellevue community, has been volunteering there for fourteen years.

“I know if I see anything unusual, I call police and let them come out and handle it,” said Devoss.

He adds that he and the other volunteers on their security patrol are never armed.

Additionally, the group only ride in pairs on a daily basis, armed only with cell phones. They keep their eyes peeled for suspicious activity and won’t hesitate to call police to check things out.

Right now,  Devoss says they’re looking for more patrol volunteers.

Some neighbors say when they see the cars rolling down the street with the yellow lights on top and the security magnets on the volunteer’s car, they feel a little safer.

“I also know that they cooperate with the police. They’ve been working with police and police tell them not to get out of the car. They’re told to simply to call something in and not to inject themselves into anything,” said Jerry Carpenter.

He and his wife have lived in the Bellevue community for thirty years. Carpenter says when they pay their dues to their civic association they are encouraged to add a little extra to go toward the security patrol. He says they’re happy to do that.

“I think it makes things safer in the neighborhood. I believe our neighborhood is pretty safe,” said Carpenter.

In the meantime, Devoss says they get their patrols out on the streets during all hours of the day and night.

“Crime doesn’t know time. People will walk through, if they see a car unlocked or see something in a car, like a valuable they will just break the window and take it. So, we get people out here on the streets at various times,” said Devoss.

As for the Martin case, he says it’s stirring up some dialogue. He says it should be a reminder to all volunteer patrol watch members to know the policies and know where the safety boundaries are.

“I was surprised. Why did he have a gun in the first place? That’s why we tell volunteers here when we train them, no weapons are carried here,” explained Devoss.

Devoss said the group's mission is simple: be an extra set of eyes and ears for police.