Program is a priority for interim police chief

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FARMINGTON — The Bloomfield Police Department is reviving its neighborhood watch program with the goal of preventing crime and making residents feel safer.

The Neighborhood Watch Task Force will meet from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. Monday on the second-floor training room of the Bloomfield Police Department at 711 Ruth Lane.

A post on the department's Facebook page stated Bloomfield police officials have spoken to members of the community and learned the biggest concern of residents and business owners is the increase in violent crime in parks and neighborhoods.

Bloomfield police previously had a neighborhood watch program as far back as 2006, but it fell by the wayside, according to Sgt. Craig Barker.

Barker said the watch program is a priority for interim Chief Randon Matthews, who saw the need for the community to help the police after the department experienced reductions in personnel.

Former Bloomfield Police Chief Randy Foster said the city of Bloomfield's budget issues led to the elimination of three positions, and three other open positions were frozen. Those moves took the department from 22 to 16 officers, according to The Daily Times archives.

A Bloomfield officer has been going door to door and speaking to citizens in his sector as part of the effort to get the word out about the meeting. The department has divided the city into four sectors to which officers are assigned.

The meeting is designed to help officers and citizens come up with a neighborhood watch program that will be deployed citywide and figure out what the community hopes the program will accomplish.

"The biggest responsibility of a citizen is to just be observant," Barker said.

A lot of the work involved in a neighborhood watch program is allowing officers to be more aware of what citizens feel are important items to address, along with identifying suspicious people or activity where they live, Barker said.

Bloomfield police plan to hold more neighborhood watch program meetings in the future.

Citizens can contact the Bloomfield Police Department at 505-632-6311 or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bloomfieldpdnm/ for information on future meetings.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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