Response to Wall Street Journal
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:
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
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.
President and Founder
National Association Citizens On Patrol
P.O. Box 727
Corona, California 92878-0727
Office: 951-898-8551 Fax:
Be Seen. Be Heard. Make a Difference.
article was printed on July 7, 2004 in the Hi-Desert Star Newspaper
located north of Los Angeles in the County of San Bernardino,
The Hi-Desert Star's Opinion:
They've got our world in their hands
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
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
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.