Toilet Bowls & Guardian Angels

The Guardian Angels is a non-profit international volunteer organization of unarmed crime-prevention patrollers. The Guardian Angels organization was founded February 13, 1979 in New York City by Curtis Sliwa and has more than 130 chapters around the world.[1]

Sliwa originally created the organization to combat widespread violence and crime on the New York City Subway system. The organization originally trained members to make citizen’s arrests for violent crimes. The organization patrols the streets and neighborhoods but also provides education programs and workshops for schools and businesses.

The Sacramento chapter of the Guardian Angels was the third chapter formed in California, following the Los Angeles and San Francisco chapters. At its height, the Chapter consisted of over 50 people ranging in age from 16 to 50 years old. There, the police worked closely with the local chapter and supplied a phone number and a liaison officer for them to use within their People Oriented Police (P.O.P.) division. The chapter headquarters was a rent-free half of a commercial medical duplex for several years. The Sacramento Chapter also featured a bike patrol to help provide additional eyes and ears along the American River Parkway. Using CB radios, patrols could call back to the headquarters and have the freedom not to depend upon public pay telephones to call the Sacramento Police.

Patrols ranged from 20 to as few as two Angels, though a minimum of three people was the standard. Members were assigned positions and specific locations in a patrol: the Patrol Leader was at the front; Communications was beside or behind; and Runners came next and would usually be the majority of the patrol, along with the second, who was in charge of keeping the patrol organized at the rear. Angels unable to go on patrols typically monitored the CB radio at the headquarters. Thus, a chapter could enlist volunteers who were legally considered handicapped. When a situation required immediate physical action on a patrol, the Patrol Leader would send the Runners under the direction of the second and either send the Communications person (with another Angel) to find a phone and call police, or to radio the situation to Chapter Headquarters to call a P.O.P. officer. When on bicycles, the second and a Runner would leave bikes with the Patrol Leader. Long-distance communications between the parts of a patrol were achieved by specific patterns of blown whistles, which every member was required to have along with a working pen, pad of paper, and flashlight.

Most of this information has been taken from Wikipedia, a historical reminder of the lengths ordinary citizens are prepared to go to to keep their communities safe & ‘pleasant’.

There is also a lesson to be taken from the way the Guardian Angels operated, they acknowledged what I choose to call the ‘toilet bowl syndrome’. That’s to say that you need to make sure that all the plumbing (not just the toilet bowl) remains uncluttered. There is nothing quite so unpleasant as a toilet overflowing with sewage because of blocked pipes. I say this because of the drop in police numbers in inner city areas where they are most needed, and the excellence of policing in areas where they’re supported to the hilt by local communities and they’ve been allowed to be effective. The chancellor has convinced us all that rampant austerity has been sorely needed & those in the inner cities have paid the price, particularly as regarneighbourhood policing, will somebody please unblock the pipes?

 

 

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