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Saturday, November 22, 2014
Keeping an eye on Franklin Square
By Dana Klosner-Wehner
The Franklin Square Civilian Patrol car stopped to observe the teens. When the four spotted the car they dispersed.
If anything should have happened, if there was a fight among the teens or if they had their trunk open and were acting suspiciously the patrol members would have called the police.
That’s the idea behind the volunteer Civilian Patrol, which started 22 years ago, to be the eyes and ears of the police.
I rode along with patrol members Mary Seifert, Franklin Square Chamber of Commerce president-elect and Pat Savella, Chamber treasurer. The pair have been patrol members for about a year.
Savella lives in Elmont but considers Franklin Square her community. Her store, Avanti Window Fashions, is in the town, along with the fact that her children and grandchildren all live in Franklin Square. She said wanted to be a member of the patrol because she wanted to do something for the community.
“The president of the Civilian Patrol [Hesham Khafaga] came and spoke at a chamber meeting and brought applications,” Savella said.
Seifert, who lives in Lynbrook but considers Franklin Square her community because the UPS Store that she owns is in Franklin Square, said she became a member so she could give back to the community that has given her so much.
“We patrol mostly the side streets,” Seifert said. “The police department knows the problem areas.
“We work in tandem with the police,” Seifert added. “They know we’re out here.”
The pair, nicknamed Cagney and Lacey, after the popular women detective television show of the 1970s, patrol 10 to 12 miles in their two-hour stint on Tuesday nights. The “hot spots” where kids hang-out and activity is seen are the elementary schools, the high school, some fast food restaurants, Rath Park and the sump –– that the kids call the creek. The pair drive slowly through the neighborhoods looking for anything that doesn’t seem right.
There are currently 35 members of the Civilian Patrol and they are out all day and all night, said Sgt. Edward Grim of the Fifth Precinct who works with the patrol.
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