Douglas Sheriff's Office seeks to ramp up Neighborhood Watch

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MINDEN, Nev. (KOLO) - The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is strengthening its crime-fighting efforts by strengthening neighborhoods. It's encouraging more people to cooperate in its Neighborhood Watch program. It is an organized group of neighbors who observe more closely any unusual activity in their neighborhoods and report it to the Sheriff's Office.

"We help them learn how to spot trends, things that are abnormal," says Tom Martel, a Citizen Patrol Member, who has been assigned to assist communities who want to organize a Neighborhood Watch group. "They don't need to intervene. In fact, we don't want them to intervene or confront. We want them to be our eyes and ears."

Martel has been a member of Citizen Patrol in Douglas County for the past three years. He was a former sworn peace officer, a court-appointed investigator, and a securities fraud investigator in Arizona. He is encouraging anyone who is interested in learning more about how to start a Neighborhood Watch group to contact him.

"It starts with giving me a call," says Martel.

"Puts a big dent in crime," says Don Alexander, a Minden resident who lives in an area that has a Neighborhood Watch program. "Having it organized, knowing who to call, what to do, it makes a big difference."

Officer Dennis Rodrigue has been in charge of the Neighborhood Watch program in Sparks. He says they get a couple of inquiries a month from people who are interested in starting a group in their neighborhood, but many don't follow. He says he understands that people get busy in their daily lives, but he believes having an organized Neighborhood Watch group is worth the commitment. He says an added benefit is that it can strengthen relationships among neighbors.

"I think the more transient we've become, the harder it is for neighbor to know each other, to get together, and to actually work together," says Officer Rodrigue.

For more information on the Sparks Police Department's Neighborhood Watch program, email or call (775) 353-2299.

To learn more about the Douglas County Sheriff's Office's Neighborhood Watch program, call Tom Martel at (775) 413-0260 or email him at