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April 26, 2013

Dodge City neighborhood watch program hoping to grow

DODGE CITY — If a group of community-minded residents have anything to say about it, Dodge City is about to get a lot safer.

Jim Mermis, captain of the town’s neighborhood watch group discussed several programs and systems to help the citizens feel safer and be more informed during potentially dangerous situations at a recent meeting.

“If someone comes to your home and requests to do work for you, make sure you ask to see their business license,” Mermis said to the group. “Situations with people we don’t recognize requesting to come into your home to try and sell a cleaning product or offer to do work on your home could be nothing more than attempt to steal from you. That’s why making sure they have a business license is important.”

Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey and Mark Persall of the Administrative Division were present at the meeting and were both able to pinpoint two safety programs which are growing throughout the county.

 Persall referred to the Yellow Dot Program which is an identification system for senior citizens used in their vehicles that display emergency contacts, allergies, medicines, and other information in case of an accident or other emergency.

“The main purpose for working with the neighborhood watch is to have direct contact with the citizens,” Persall said. “It’s helpful in case of suspicious people or vehicles, and crimes being committed.  The Yellow Dot Program can help the community be more aware of their surroundings and have information more readily available.”

Rainey discussed the Sheriff’s office added online notification system, Nixle, which sends out alerts to subscribers in emergency situations.

“Everyone that signs up will receive a notification during any type of emergency in their area,” Rainey said. “They are sent out through e-mails and text messages and it’s free to sign up.”

Mermis said that bringing in speakers to share about programs like these will only help increase the safety and awareness of the Dodge City citizens.

The Dodge City Neighborhood Watch group will meet the second Thursday of every month around 7 p.m. following the town council meeting in the Dodge City Town Hall.

Visit cullmansheriff.org to subscribe to the Nixle system or obtain more information about the Yellow Dot Program. The Sheriff’s office can be reached  at 256-734-0342.

Lauren Estes can be reached at laurene@cullmantimes.com, or 256-734-2131, ext 270.

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