Newsmakers Making A Difference: The Park Ridge Citizens Patrol

Rob Hart
June 19, 2018 - 7:17 am

WBBM Newsradio/Rob Hart

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Park Ridge Citizens Patrol is the second oldest citizens patrol in the country.  The first was established in California in the mid 1970's.

The Park Ridge Citizens Patrol was born out of a rash of burglaries in 1979.

"A group of citizens just decided to get in their cars and drive around. They used the Citizens Band radio system, which was a public band radio that could be used. They would report anything suspicious to the police department, who would respond," said Tom Wilson, Volunteer Services Coordinator for Park Ridge.

Citizens Patrol now boasts 32 members. The CB Radio may be a thing of the past, but the mission is still the same - drive around and call in things that seem out of the ordinary, like loud parties or suspicious cars. They even call homeowners to let them know their garage door was left open.

"In most cases the people say 'thanks I didn't realize that' or 'I'm still working out there, but thanks for calling and letting me know.'" 

Photo provided to WBBM Newsradio

Citizens Patrol members can be seen during special events in town. They direct traffic at parades, streets festivals, fireworks shows, and high school football games.

"You're providing a service to the city. Actually, what you're doing is replacing a police officer in a nonviolent area, allowing the officers to go back to their patrol work or whatever they need to do," Wilson said.

As WBBM celebrates its 50th anniversary as Newsradio, this year we’ll be honoring 50 Newsmakers making a difference in the community.  Listen for reports each Tuesday.

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