About 15 residents came out Tuesday, April 19, to learn more about Neighborhood Watch, its potential benefits to Pine City, and how to get involved. A kick-off event was held that evening at the American Legion.
City staff welcomed atendees then introduced Deputy Paul Widenstrom of the Pine County Sheriff’s Department, who led the discussion. Though Pine City is the largest city in the county, and home to the local law enforcement agency, it hasn’t had an organized Neighborhood Watch in some time.
“Neighborhood Watch exists in several of our cities in Pine County, Hinckley, Sandstone and Askov,” said Widenstrom. “This is our third time trying to start it in Pine City.”
At least one attendee said she came to the kick-off to hopefully meet a neighbor of hers but, unfortunately, no one else showed from her neighborhood. Attendees expressed their interest in the information sharing that can take place when a Neighborhod Watch is successful in a community, between the Sheriff’s Department and the residents.
While Neighborhood Watch hadn’t been active in Pine City in over a decade, over the past four years, National Night Out has been celebrated with neighborhood block parties and get togethers. Last year, the sheriff’s department and city officials made their rounds to approximately a half-a-dozen of them.
Widenstrom shared the resources available to the community including department staff being able to join in at meetings with presentations, handouts, and the ability of the department to provide Neighborhood Watch signs, when available, upon request.
Contact information was gathered from those in attendance and the next meeting date was set, for May 17 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The topics of discussion for the next meeting are lighting and the City’s curfew. The hope of the newly-formed committee is to have interested residents from each of the City’s neighborhoods in attendance.