Arundel Village Security Patrol looking hard for volunteers Block party Aug. 3 is a recruiting strategy

July 14, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

WANTED: Extra pairs of eyes and ears to help the Arundel Village Security Patrol keep crime out of the Brooklyn Park neighborhood. No experience necessary. Set your own hours. Car or comfortable walking shoes preferred.

Apply for the job at the patrol's block party from noon to dusk Aug. 3 at Arundel Village Park on Cross Street between Sixth Street and Wasena Avenue -- and come ready to party.

Dan the DJ "Diesel" Lambert, a patroller, will spin pop, rock, country, oldies and dance music. There will be games, balloons, free posters on drug awareness, county firetrucks on display, crime dog McGruff and fire dog Sparky. Prizes will be given out every half-hour.

Arundel Village, a section of Brooklyn Park made up of 500 rowhouses and single-family homes, lies south of the city line.

The patrol was formed last year to force drug dealers and prostitutes from the community. At its peak, the patrol had 24 members armed with pocket citizen-band radios and keeping a lookout from the city line to Church Street.

But boredom, distractions and a nasty winter cut membership to about 10, said Donald Blair Jr., 37, coordinator of the patrol.

"I want to try to get them back involved and recruit new people RTC to expand our area of coverage because right now we strictly do Arundel Village," said Blair.

The block party could become an annual event if it breaks even; if it turns a profit patrollers plan to buy phones so they won't interfere anymore with other CB users, he said.

"This had always been a low-key neighborhood. At one time, there was a lot of police living here. But in recent years, we've had some problems with destruction of property, cars stolen, some drugs in the neighborhood and prostitutes bringing their johns in," said Blair.

"We've cut a lot of that out of there. The biggest problem we have now is starting to build [membership] back up again," said the former federal policeman.

Blair, now a cabbie, runs King Adam's Palace, a consignment shop on Church Street.

The gray and red brick shop, cluttered with knickknacks -- teddy bears and American flags -- doubles as headquarters for the patrol. A large CB radio sits on a gray, metal cabinet, linking patrollers to home base.

Usually there aren't any problems to report. Neighborhood watch participants don't confront troublemakers or street toughs. That's the job of the police. The patrollers report what they see.

Patrols cruise neighborhood streets in cars or on foot at all hours, seven days a week. Members pay for their gas. Magnetic signs on their cars identify them.

Joseph "Doughboy" Russell, 19, a founder and co-coordinator of the patrol, said he hopes the party will make neighbors more familiar with the patrol and what's going on in the community.

Police officers from the Northern District will be at the party to talk to residents. Although police said it is impossible to measure the impact of the patrol, they're glad it is there.

"They're an extra set of eyes and ears out there for us," said acting Lt. Paul Tabor.

Pub Date: 7/14/96

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