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Church Crime Stoppers

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Imagine watching crime push its way into your small community. Church members and neighbors in one Florida town simply weren’t going to stand by and do nothing. That’s why they formed a “parish posse.” On wheels and a prayer, these crime stoppers hit the road.  Reed Galin reports.

 
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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Trilby, FL)

It’s the subtle whisper of another Sunday morning in Trilby, Florida.  But at Trilby United Methodist Church, the faithful know that something sinister threatens the serenity of their small town.

Herb Green / Choir Director & Crime Stopper:  “Yeah, we see some suspicious activity going on.”

So every week, a group of neighbors and church members canvas the countryside for crime.

The Rev. Juan Garay / Trilby United Methodist Church: “They have a lot of poor people around here – people with needs. Because of that, we do have a lot of crime.”

Herb Green: “We’re the eyes and ears of the sheriff’s department.”

Herb Green leads the security patrol – that is after he directs the sopranos and altos in the church choir. These volunteers don’t carry guns, but they do ride in makeshift police cruisers. 

Herb Green: “Eventually we’ll have a radio system just like the regular police do.”

But for now, their newest procurement is a 1984 Pontiac Bonneville.  Long-time church member Marny Walker is helping these crime fighters even after her death.

Kenneth Larsen / Marny’s brother-in-law: “Marny used to always sit in the same spot. My wife would sit here, Marny would sit right next to her.”

Marny left the sedan to the church.  After a trip to the body shop, the Bonneville will join the security fleet. 

The Rev. Juan Garay: “I think she wanted to honor us with that gift.”

Herb Green: “Down here is the suspected crack house. We want to keep drugs out of Trilby.”

They want to keep the foothills of this rural town safe.  For them, “church” is wherever there’s a need for a parish posse.

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Trilby’s security patrol does not have the power to arrest anyone.  But when they see and hear something suspicious, they pass the information along to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. There are currently 17 members in the patrol.

For more information about the church contact the Florida United Methodist Conference at http://www.flumc.org.

For a lengthier profile of this “parish posse,” see Church takes ministry into streets by patrolling against crime.