NEWELL - Earl Barrick says he wants to put the neighbor back in neighborhood.
Barrick, 37, a sergeant in the Hancock County Sheriff's Reserves, is one of the organizers of a new neighborhood watch program in Newell. The first meeting will be held tonight at 7 at the Newell Lions Den.
"Twenty-five years ago, I remember you could send your kids outside and not have to worry about things like drugs or bullying. As a lifelong resident of Newell, I want that back," Barrick said.
The neighborhood watch program is an outgrowth of a community meeting held between Newell residents and Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher in February.
At the time, Newell residents were concerned about a rash of car break-ins and home burglaries in their unincorporated community and an apparent connection with illegal drug activity. Fletcher returned for another community meeting in April, just weeks after a major multi-agency drug bust in Hancock County.
Since then, Fletcher has tasked the sheriff's reserves with overseeing the startup of a neighborhood watch program that could eventually go countywide.
"All we need are residents who take pride in their community, to keep an eye out and report things," Barrick said. "If you see something, say something."
Barrick said the neighborhood watch program will have monthly meetings of an educational nature and featuring guest speakers. Tonight's guest speaker is Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis.
Each month's meeting will focus on a different subject, such as how to recognize drug activity in a neighborhood. "There's a lot of little things that people see every day," Barrick said.
Barrick, reserve Officer Brittany Barrick and reserve Chief Brian Peters received training by going to neighborhood watch meetings in Wheeling and Wellsville.