CENTRALIA, Mo. - The Centralia Police Department is bringing back a neighborhood watch program after 14 years.
The program encourages neighbors to report suspicious activity to the police department. The department said this is another way for its officers to get to know the citizens of Centralia.
"When we start getting out there and we start talking to the community. Like Chief Bias says, 'Get out there are start talking to people.' We may get dispatched to a call there one day and they'll remember you. They'll remember that one good impact," said Officer Logan Feger, one of the officers in charge of the program.
The department said this method of community policing encourages people to provide intel to the department.
An unofficial neighborhood watch method has helped officers from Centralia in the past piece together crimes because residents were able to report unusual things like dogs barking.
Feger and Officer David Davenport said the program is beneficial to the department because people will notice things in their neighborhood no one else would, such as someone who does not live there or a suspicious vehicle.
The department said it would utilize people's home security cameras and doorbells if they would allow it.
"We use cameras every day for crimes, trying to solve crimes. And it's awesome. It saves us a lot of tracking down," Davenport said.
The officers were clear this is not something they would force people to take part in.
Feger said he has used footage from a Ring doorbell in the past to solve a crime.
The officers said people should be sure and report any issues, and not act as vigilantes.
The department will hold meetings to raise awareness about what information people should have when reporting something, and how they can become involved. The department will host the first of these meetings on Aug. 20 at the East Annex Building.