Community watchdog program forming
Education is the key to changing the system, according to a small group of South Shore residents who want to create a watchdog group.
Eleven people gathered Tuesday night for the first meeting of the Tahoe Community Watch Project. Many had personal issues with either the police or judicial system in El Dorado County, but they believe they are not alone, and that there are many others afraid to come forward.
“People are afraid to file complaints with the different agencies,” said Judy Simpson, owner of Alternative Legal Solutions. “I have boxes and boxes of cases in my office that are just almost unbelievable they’re so bad. We want to teach people how to file complaints. Many don’t realize that there is a process, and you can file a complaint against an officer or a judge. They are accountable for their actions just like you and I are.”
Sharon Dryer, who also volunteers at Alternative Legal Solutions, said Simpson’s business is there to help people through the complaint process free of charge.
Dryer and Simpson have also started a Web site for the Tahoe Community Watch Project.
“We have not received any messages yet, but the page has had 94 hits, so people are coming in and looking around,” Dryer said.
The Tuesday night group also watched a video on Berkeley’s cop watch program – a program, Simpson said, is in its 10th year.
“This is one of the things we would like to see happen here,” she said. “There has to be accountability, and if they know we’re watching more things might happen.”
The group founders said the intention of their grass roots movement is to work within the system to change it.
The next meeting for the Tahoe Community Watch Project is Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. in Carrows Restaurant’s meeting room, 2375 Lake Tahoe Blvd. The Web site is http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/tahoecommunitywatchproject?s
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