Sanford Police Clarify New Neighborhood Watch Rules

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Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The police department in the Florida city where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer is clarifying that revisions to its watch program that include a no-weapons recommendation won't infringe on citizens' constitutional rights.

Sanford police chief Cecil Smith said Tuesday that the new neighborhood watch program will include more defined training that informs participants that police policy is not to patrol or carry guns. But it won't be specifically written into the handbook.

Smith says people won't be asked about any weapons permits they hold or be restricted from participating if they do.

But block captains will now be required to sign a waiver that says if they carry any weapon they are going beyond the training of police and relinquish the city of liability.

Associated Press Release

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The Sanford Police Department is rolling out a revamped neighborhood watch program more than a year after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

Revisions include restricting volunteers from carrying firearms and from pursuing suspects.

Zimmerman was acquitted of a second-degree murder charge in July. During his trial, evidence was presented that he followed Martin before the two fought and the teen was killed in February 2012.

Police spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly says participation in the program dwindled after the shooting. She says the city's new Police Chief Cecil Smith made changes when he took over and is taking control of the program.

The revisions will be outlined during a Nov. 5 community meeting.

Cordingly says the program will not go active until all volunteers are trained.


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