KC crime watch gets patrol car
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
PRAIRIEVILLE–It’s the pilot program for Kaufman County.
A citizens on patrol (COP) group took possession of its first patrol car
from the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday.
It’s taken three years, but Terry Thomas says it was worth the time and
“I started this Crime Watch three years ago. I was determined this crime
watch would not die,” Thomas told The Monitor.
He keeps a list of 90 names and telephone numbers on his desk of those
who have attended one of Prairieville’s many crime watch meetings, and
calls on them frequently with news and information.
“We just began to meet and talk about crime and get information off the
Internet,” Thomas said, describing some of the behind the scenes work
that built the crime watch group into a committed citizens group.
Thirty are active, he says. And of that number, 16 have completed an
intensive course of training, including a 13-week citizens course on
just how the Sheriff’s department does its job.
“We went with a SWAT team and the canine corps. It was really an
eye-opener,” he said. “We understand procedures now.”
A dozen of those are now on their last certification requirement – to
ride along with a patrolman for four hours.
Four members have met all requirements and are ready to use the new
patrol car to patrol Precinct 4, as the “eyes and ears” of the Sheriff’s
“We’re going to patrol, write reports, recognize criminal activity, call
it in and maintain a perimeter,” Thomas summarized.
“We are going to drive the criminals out of the community,” he said.
Prior to getting the car, the crime watch group were instrumental in
closing down several drug houses, Thomas said, just by being alert and
calling in the suspicious activity when it was happening.
Thomas credits Kaufman Sheriff David Byrnes for the award of a patrol
car to the group.
“Once he saw we were serious about the crime watch, he started educating
himself and us and became convinced of the value of the program,” Thomas
“I’d like to see 100 citizens on patrol groups. It sure would make my
job easier,” Byrnes said.
The car, dedicated to the program, was obtained in a drug seizure and
cost the county about $700 to outfit.
The group will be supervised by Lt. Troy Graham. He will be the liaison
and review the patrol’s daily reports.
Attention to these reports will keep the department informed of activity
within the patrol’s territory, and could offer key information in other
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Deller is also involved in the program,
happily providing a secure place to keep the patrol car and lending his
support to the program.
“I am so thrilled,” Deller told The Monitor.
“I’ve been involved in every crime watch in Precinct 4. It’s a great
idea for citizens to get involved to prevent crime in their
neighborhoods,” he said.
“They’ve rewritten all the (citizens on patrol) procedures to fit the
county and that will be good for other crime watch groups to build on,”
Citizens on Patrol isn’t law enforcement. Its members have no special
authority and carry no weapons.
But, they are armed with knowledge, a system of reporting, cameras and
the backing of the Kaufman County’s Sheriff’s Department.
“In these days citizens have to become as aggressive as the petty
criminals that are gnawing away at our sense of security,” Thomas said.
“We will be watching and we will drive them out of this community.”
Ace Hardware pitches in for
Special to The Monitor
For many, these summertime words are commonplace at ball diamonds and in
backyards, heralding the start of a game of America’s favorite pastime.
But for children living in underserved communities, “striking out” has
nothing to do with baseball.
“An astounding number of kids never get to experience the crack of the
bat or that ‘slap’ the ball makes when it hits a glove,” said marketing
director Margie Crawford of Groom & Son’s Ace Hardware and Lumber.
“We were so happy to find out there was something we could do to change
that,” she added.
For 2006, Ace Hardware has teamed up with “Pitch In For Baseball,” an
organization that collects new and “nearly new” youth baseball equipment
and redistributes it to areas where it’s needed most.
Groom & Son’s Ace Hardware and Lumber on State Highway 198 in Mabank
will serve as a drop-off point for equipment now through the end of
Gloves, helmets, bats and any other items in good working order will be
Groom & Son’s will handle packaging up the items and sending them to
“Pitch In For Baseball,” where the gear will be sent where it’s needed
“A lack of equipment in no way represents an absence of passion when it
comes to America’s pastime,” Crawford said.
“Pitch In For Baseball” gives kids an opportunity to play ball despite
their lack of equipment. It’s a fantastic organization, and our store is
proud to ‘pitch in’ and lend a hand,” Crawford said.
In 2005 alone, “Pitch In For Baseball” collected enough equipment to
provide for hurricane affected regions in the Gulf Coast including New
Orleans, Biloxi, Miss. and Mobile, Ala.
Communities around the world in Poland, Nicaragua and the Dominican
Republic have also benefitted by the program.
“If everyone in the Cedar Creek Lake area brought in just one piece of
equipment they weren’t using anymore, imagine the number of
underprivileged kids who could experience a pop fly or a base hit. We’re
especially in need of gloves, the most basic piece of baseball
equipment,” Crawford said.
More information on “Pitch In For Baseball” is available at
New sign for Becker Community
Special to The Monitor
BECKER COMMUNITY–The old is gone, the new is here.
After an old, weather-beaten Becker Community Center sign blew down last
year (General Bill Becker says some have accused him of knocking it
down), the Becker Community Association has purchased a new metal sign
to advertise community events and post important notices.
Many people have participated in the building and placement of the new
advertising medium, yet another “sign of the times” in this growing
community east of Kaufman.
Artlington architect Keith Crouch drew up the plans with Cates Steel of
Kaufman and R&R Screen Process of Kemp contributing materials.
Labor was provided by BCA President Bill Lyons, Sammy Truell, John Kiser
and Grady Carroll, all of Becker.
The sign can be viewed in front of the Becker Community Center at the
intersection of Farm-to-Markets 2860 and 1895.