The Citizens Mobile Patrol, or CMP as it is known, is a special group of adult Volunteers, currently numbering 60, who, after being screened, background checked, and trained by the Police Department will patrol business and residential communities acting as additional “Eyes and Ears” for law enforcement. The goal of the organization is to prevent and deter crime, to reduce motor vehicle violations and to assist sworn officer by identifying hazards and reporting suspicious persons or incidents. Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stepp, in announcing the formation of the CMP back in August of 2004, was clear in emphasizing that the new CMP would not in any way impact the existing Police patrols done by sworn officers nor would the CMP have any law enforcement authority.
In other parts of the County, State and Country, CMP Volunteers patrol on a regular basis, usually in 4-8 hour shifts, and become more familiar with the community and thus are better able to recognize “suspicious” activity and notify the police. Due to their focused patrol activity, it is not uncommon for CMP’s to observe crimes already in progress. CMP’s do not take enforcement action, they only observe and report. Members will not be authorized to carry weapons and are encouraged to avoid physical contact. Very often the CMP’s greatest weapon is their established bond with local law enforcement and their ability to communicate directly with the Police Communications Center.
Citizen Patrols have proven highly successful in other local areas and some communities have used the CMP units to assist sworn officers in citing violators who park in either Handicapped or Fire Zones. Some communities use the CMP units to provide welfare checks on elderly and homebound individuals. CMP Volunteers may also be called upon to assist in locating missing adults and children. Palm Beach Gardens has phased in mny of these functions and will continue to do so as the program matures and grows in size.
Residents of Palm Beach Gardens wanting to learn more about the program are encouraged to contact Sgt. Geoff Soule of the Police Community Involvement Unit at 799-4565.