East Falls Town Watch to host training session for new members this week

With local and national neighborhood watch groups under scrutiny for the alleged misdeeds of their members, one local chapter is providing an opportunity for potential members to find out how a town watch is intended to function.

On Thursday, May 3, at 7 p.m., East Falls Town Watch (EFTW) will be hosting a training session for new members. The training session is to take place at EFTW’s headquarters at 3540 Indian Queen Lane.

Mary Jane Fullam, president of EFTW, said the event is designed to assist members in making accurate and detailed observations.

Emphasizing the mission of Town Watch to “observe, document, and report,” she reiterated that her organization serves as the “eyes and ears” of the community for police and other municipal agencies.

In conjunction with current EFTW current membership, Douglas Evans, Area Coordinator for the city’s Town Watch Integrated Services [TWIS] program will be on hand to lead the training session.

According to Fullam, Evans will administer presentations that test and refine one’s powers of observations.

In addition, Evans will begin paperwork to make new applicants official members of Town Watch, complete with official documentation and photo ID.

Evans was not immediately available for Newsworks’ inquiry.

“It will help you to be a better caller to 911,” said Fullam of the training.

Surge in interest

TWIS operates under the aegis of the city’s Managing Director’s Office.

Philadelphia Operation Town Watch came into existence July 1, 1996, according to TWIS’s website. At the time, approximately 300 town watch groups were in existence.  At present, there are over 700 certified Town Watch groups serving over 20,000 trained members.

In East Falls, Fullam said there has been a recent surge in interest in EFTW, but said her organization is always in need of people able to participate in day and evening patrols, especially those willing to drive.

“I’m thrilled that so many neighborhood residents are interested in assisting with patrols,” she said. “It’s all towards the greater good of the neighborhood.”

And Fullam will be there too – she never misses it.

“I always go,” she said. “I always pick up something new.”

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