Sharing information is key to fighting crime and improving the quality of life in Ashland’s neighborhoods, officials told neighborhood watch activists Tuesday.

Ashland Police Capt. Todd Kelley and Scott Morgan, a dispatcher and training officer at the Public Safety Communications Center, were invited as guest speakers and fielded questions about illegal drug activity and emergency responses from attendees at the WinMont Neighborhood Watch meeting.

Members said they are concerned their efforts to boost participation in the group are weakened by what residents see as a lack of response from law enforcement when residents call in suspicious activities. They asked officials for tips to help build trust and improve the relationship between police and residents.

“We’re trying to get it to where people will come forth to get these (criminals and drug users) out of here,” said Bobbie Pinard, director of the WinMont watch group.

Robert Gross, block captain for the 2900 to 3100 block of Central Avenue, said “the biggest complaint from neighbors is ‘why get involved, police don’t care... they don’t show up.”’

Kelley assured residents that information from calls about drugs and other crime is being used and that investigations are active in the area. “There are things we are doing that I wish I could tell you but we are doing stuff,” he said.

He also encouraged residents to call the department’s silent witness line and to continue to call 911 to report incidents and to follow up with police. “Sometimes even if you don’t hear it (on the scanner),” he said, information “gets to the officers.”

“We rely on the eyes and ears of the public. Call 911. That’s how you do find things, you do hear things. The information that’s what we need,” Kelley said.

Both Morgan and Kelley stressed residents also need to know when to call 911 and make sure they are giving as much information to dispatchers as possible. There is a large volume of calls made to the center, particularly through the evening and early morning hours. Giving dispatchers complete information and as much as possible helps them to prioritize calls and to better document incidents.

Another tool the group is trying out is to disseminate and collect information from residents of the neighborhood is a newly created Web site, The site, according to Gross, is “some other way for residents in the area to be involved in the neighborhood watch.”

In addition to providing links to the APD and Kentucky State Police Sex Offender Registry, and national FBI crime statistics, the site has posted numerous safety tips, Gross said. More detailed information about incidents that occur within the specific neighborhood will come next. Visitors can also post comments and ask questions, he said.

Providing and sharing information among governmental, private, and public organizations is needed to continue to improve the quality of life in Ashland, Kelley said. “Community policing is not an attitude, and it’s not a type of policing. ... You have to bring all those groups to work together,” he said.

The WinMont Neighborhood Watch covers the area from between Winchester and Montgomery Avenues from 29th Street to 34th Street. They meet monthly at the WTSF-TV Channel 61 building, 3100 Bath Ave.

CARRIE KIRSCHNER can be reached at ckirschner@dailyindependent.

com or (606) 326-2653.


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