Last Updated September 08, 2009

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Response to Wall Street Journal Article, 9/8/09

The Wall Street Journal published in it's Tuesday, September 8, 2009 paper an article that can best be described as "extremely negative, unbalanced and under reported" which is very surprising coming from a well respected media organization for whom many rely on for honest and full reporting. The NACOP was interviewed for this article and provided many, many positive and uplifting examples of how Citizen Patrol groups across the nation are doing wonderful things to help their communities and local police departments. Names, phones numbers and direct contacts of respected police agencies were provided to the WSJ reporter to contact for herself to speak with them and hear first hand from law enforcement of the many great things their volunteers were doing however not one was ever contacted. Below is the e-mail response from NACOPs President and Founder, Art Femister, who was interviewed for the article, to the WSJ reporter who wrote this extremely negative and unbalanced article:

Content of response to WSJ article sent on  Sept. 8, 2009, 11:18am:

Hi Jennifer, I just read your article online and I have a question, will there be a follow up story showing the positive side to this?

I have to say I was somewhat shocked at how negative the article was as reflected by the comments posted online. I donít know who Mr. XXXX is or anything about his crime watch group but Iím sure if I dug deep enough to write an article about reporters I could find at least one bad one to write about also. As I think I mentioned in our telephone conversation, only a small percentage of police departments allow their volunteers to write citations and I can assure you that if Mr. XXX did in fact do what they article says he did, he would no longer be a volunteer with any recognized police department I know.

There are so many outstanding and positive stories about how and what police volunteers have done to help the police, their communities and individuals that Iím surprise at how negative the article was. Had I know the article was going to be used to make police volunteers look like so bad I would not have agreed to provide any input at all. I have to tell you, I am very disappointed with this article and especially coming from such a respected source as the Wall Street Journal.

If youíd like to do a counter article to this one, please let me know as I would be happy to provide you with dozens on positive actions such as missing persons found, elderly citizens lives saved, drunk drivers taken off the road, etc. etc.

Art Femister
President and Founder
National Association Citizens On Patrol
P.O. Box 727
Corona, California  92878-0727
Office: 951-898-8551   Fax: 951-279-1915
afemister@nacop.org         www.nacop.org

  Be Seen.  Be Heard.  Make a Difference.

 

The following article was printed on July 7, 2004 in the Hi-Desert Star Newspaper located north of Los Angeles in the County of San Bernardino, California

The Hi-Desert Star's Opinion:
They've got our world in their hands

A Tribute to Citizen Patrol Volunteer, Mr. Roy Vest and all Citizen Patrol Volunteers who serve their communities.

You see them everywhere: Diverting traffic around traffic accidents and fires; directing vehicles to parking lots and detours during special events; talking to children, passing out information and keeping an eye on things at the Yucca Valley concerts in the park; fingerprinting youngsters; ensuring that parking places marked for handicapped people aren't abused by unauthorized drivers.

They are the members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Citizens on Patrol. Most of us just call them the citizen patrol, and the name suits them. They are citizens who have stepped forward to say they will take responsibility for the safety of their communities. They will make sure our children's fingerprints and distinguishing marks are recorded, so that in the awful event that a child is kidnapped, the sheriff's department immediately will have a proper description.

If a business has had frequent break-in attempts or a person has gone on vacation, the Citizens on Patrol will take special care to drive through the neighborhood several times a night. Not only will they be there to report any suspicious activity, but criminals are often discouraged by the mere presence of an official vehicle with emergency lights, driven by officers who are in constant radio contact with the police.

At the fires that recently ignited in Yucca Valley, (Southern California) citizen patrol officers rode to the scene to divert vehicles, allowing firefighters to do their jobs without having to worry about a traffic jam or distracted drivers making matters worse. Any time you have approached a traffic accident on one of our highways or major roads, you almost certainly saw the uniformed members of the citizen patrol, preventing another crash and directing vehicles around the rescue workers, allowing them to concentrate on saving a victim's life or investigating the cause of the collision. And at most special events like Grubstake Days, Turtle Days or Founders Days, it is the citizen patrol officers who stand in the highway, showing people the way to detours and parking.

One of the officers you may have seen working with the citizen patrol was Roy Vest. He was particularly noticeable because he sometimes had to carry an oxygen tank with him. He was in his late 70s, and he wasn't as strong or healthy as he once was, but you'd still see him out on his patrol, along with his partner and wife, Lynne Vest. Mr. Vest died in late June at the age of 77. A lot of people knew and loved him, but even more people walking around today were helped by Mr. Vest at one time or another, without even knowing who he was. He never got any money for his work, because like all citizen patrol members, he was a volunteer. But he loved his patrol work, loved what it allowed him to do for his community.

When they were asked to name a favorite memory or accomplishment, the Vests would recall the time they found a boy who was deaf and mute and had wandered from home. Citizen patrol volunteers manned the search for the child, and the Vests found him.

It's a simple story, but it's one that tells the larger tale of what the Citizens on Patrol volunteers do every day: Simple things that make a world of difference to the people whose lives they touch.

Mr. Vest touched a lot of lives during his nine years on patrol, and we hope we speak for everyone in the Hi-Desert when we say we salute him proudly, and thank Mrs. Vest and all the citizen patrol volunteers who watch over us every day. 

Click to view our Press Release regarding President Bush and C.O.P.'s
Click here to view the Certificate of Recognition for the NACOP from Assemblyman Rod Pacheco, Riverside, California
Click here to view the article on our July 14, 2001, Conference
Click here to view the article on our May 6, 2000, Conference

NACOP Press Release regarding President Bush
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT:

    Arthur Femister, President & Founder
    National Association Citizens On Patrol
    Phone: 909-898-8551 FAX: 909-279-1915
    E-Mail: afemister@nacop.org
    Web: www.nacop.org

February 4, 2002

President Bush recognizes the efforts of Citizens On Patrol, DOJ Responds

(CORONA, CALIFORNIA)
For over 20 years, a special group of law enforcement volunteers, commonly known as Citizens On Patrol, have been working to help keep our communities and nation safe by being their extra "eyes and ears" assisting local Police and Sheriff's with non-enforcement duties helping to free up Officers time. Last week, President Bush, while addressing Senior Corps Volunteers at the Volusia County Fire Services Training Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, took time to recognize these dedicated individuals and groups for their efforts in helping America fight crime and terrorism.

Speaking to the crowd, President Bush said, "And there are some fantastic programs right here in Volusia County that others ought to recognize, that work. One is Citizens on Patrol." referring to the Volusia County Sheriffs local C.O.P. group. "More than 200 volunteers put in 51,000 hours in the year 2001, to help serve as eyes and ears of local law enforcement. If a child is missing, they help look. If something is odd, they help notice. I don't know if you remember, but I talked about, digging into those al Qaeda caves in Afghanistan, we found some of their aspirations, in terms of creating harm for America. For example, they targeted some of our cities, or some of our infrastructure. Citizens on Patrol here in Volusia County patrol the water treatment plants and water treatment facilities in this county." "So if people in this part of the world want to help be a part of the first defense on homeland security -- and that is, help patrol neighborhoods, or patrol areas, or industrial complexes, to make sure nothing unusual is happening -- a great program is Citizens on Patrol, right here in Volusia County." The President went on to discuss Homeland Security issues and the need for volunteers.

In a related story, the Department of Justice announced it will begin to offer, later this year, information on those wishing to implement their own VIPS, Volunteers In Police Service, programs. Unlike Citizens On Patrol, VIPS may also include non-patrol functions such as assisting with clerical work and other office type duties to help local law enforcement. "We applaud their efforts" says Arthur Femister, the President and Founder of the National Association Citizens On Patrol. "While our non-profit organization, the first and only one of it's kind in the nation, focuses on the patrol aspect of law enforcement volunteers, we are delighted to see the DOJ is recognizing the importance of citizen volunteers in law enforcement. We hope their actions and multi-million dollar budget will open the doors to our continued request for Federal funding, which to date has been denied. We thank President Bush for recognizing Citizens On Patrol, this can only help us obtained the much needed Federal funding support which will allow us to continue and expand our work while serving our nation by assisting cities with forming their own groups and supporting existing ones."

Individuals interested in learning more about the role of Citizens On Patrol, existing groups in their area or how to start one may do so now by logging on to the internet at www.nacop.org.

The National Association Citizens On Patrol is a non-profit, public benefit corporation, based in Corona, CA. Founded in 1999, the organization provides support to Citizen Patrol groups and Law Enforcement Coordinators nationwide. There are an estimated 100,000 Citizen Patrol Volunteers who patrol their cities in marked vehicles in uniform acting as additional "Eyes and Ears" for Police and Sheriffs Departments.


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The NACOP receives a Certificate of Recognition

January 2000, the National Association Citizens On Patrol receives a Certificate of Recognition from Assemblyman Rod Pacheco, Riverside, California, on behalf of the California State Assembly in honor of "Outstanding efforts in 1999" by assisting Law Enforcement and helping to reduce crime".

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