In 1851, when Brigham City was founded, night watchmen walked the streets in civilian clothes on guard for petty thievery and assaults. In 1869, Brigham City became a municipality and a town Marshal was hired to enforce the laws and protect its citizens from criminal activity. Primary duties included dispersing crowds, requiring loafers and loungers to move on, and collecting stray animals. With only one town Marshal, the police relied on the community for help with emergencies, disturbances, and many other matters of public safety.
Much has changed in the 160 years since Brigham City was founded. The city's population has grown to just under 20,000, and the police force has grown to 25 sworn officers and eight civilian support staff members.
Chasing horses and meeting trains has been replaced by rushing to 911 calls in radio cars. Technology, forensic science, and terrorism are all part of the new fabric of policing. The professionalism, training and dedication required by the men and women who perform as police officers today has grown enormously. In almost two centuries of policing, there is one thing that has not changed throughout the history - one constant that has never faltered or diminished. That one vital thing is the trust we profoundly share with the community.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." What are we, the police, but extensions of you, the community. We have no greater power than the trust that you place in us, a trust we proudly accept and greatly respect.
We rely, depend, and are beholding to you, the community. In fact, the police could not succeed without the trust and support the community and the Neighborhood Watch has always given us.
Public trust is a special thing and one that no officer should ever take lightly. When you join your local Neighborhood Watch group, you too demonstrate your commitment to justice for all citizens. Together we form a unified body of trust far greater and stronger than any adversary - greater than any gang or criminal could ever hope to achieve.
In the hectic day-to-day operations of police service, the community is the fuel that feeds us and the map that guides us. You truly are our eyes and ears. You determine what the needs of Brigham City are and how to best keep Brigham a safe place to live, work and play.
Neighborhood Watch forges partnerships with the police and the community. It is a perfect example of good citizens at their best. The Neighborhood Watch program is exactly what we have needed in the past and it continues to be very much a necessity in Brigham City today.
The trust we share must always be our source of strength against crime. Together, we will continue to make Brigham City a safe and wonderful place for all to enjoy.
The Neighborhood Watch Program is a highly successful program that joins together local officials, law enforcement and citizens to protect our communities.
For more than thirty years, neighbors have banded together to form Neighborhood Watch programs. They understand that the active participation of neighborhood residents is a critical factor in community safety - not through vigilantism, but simply through a willingness to look out for suspicious activity in their neighborhood, and report that activity to law enforcement and to each other. In doing so, residents take a major step toward reclaiming their neighborhoods as well as making people throughout the community feel more secure.
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the need for strengthening and securing our communities has become even more critical, and Neighborhood Watch groups have taken on greater significance. In addition to serving a crime prevention role, Neighborhood Watch can also be used as the basis for bringing neighborhood residents together to focus on disaster preparedness as well as terrorism awareness; to focus on evacuation drills and exercises; and even to organize group training, such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.
Many neighborhoods already have established Neighborhood Watch programs that are vibrant and effective. For those that haven't, the renewed emphasis on emergency preparedness may provide the incentive for them to participate in this important community-based effort.
If you would like more information about Neighborhood Watch, please call Lieutenant Michael Nelsen at the Brigham City Police Department, (435) 734-6650.