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Taylorsville Journal

Taylorsville Public Safety Committee pledges to assist neighborhood watch groups remain active

Feb 28, 2019 02:45PM ● By Carl Fauver

Mascots weren’t alone at last year’s annual Utah Department of Public Safety Family Safety Fair, as members of the Taylorsville Public Safety committee also operated an informational booth there. (Utah DPS)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

Taylorsville Public Safety citizen volunteer committee chairman Tony Henderson has been a member of that committee since before the city was officially incorporated in 1996. He’s observed a lot of trends in that time. And one of them his committee hopes to help curb in 2019.

“We’ve seen, time and time again, something will happen in a neighborhood – a series of car break-ins or home burglaries – and people will get worked up to start a neighborhood watch program,” Henderson said. “Then the problem will basically resolve itself – the crimes slow down – and the neighborhood watches generally stop functioning. Our committee pledged (to the Unified Police Department Taylorsville Precinct) that we will do what we can this year, to help those new neighborhood watch groups to keep operating.”

Henderson’s committee made that promise to a pair of police officers who attended their monthly meeting in February, where a variety of possible projects were discussed.

“We’re a pretty small committee – with only about six active members – so we can’t take on a lot of huge projects,” Henderson said. “But we have accomplished quite a few things over the years. We had a list of nine priorities during our meeting. The two police officers offered to address a couple of them by writing articles for the (Taylorsville Journal) newspaper.”

Public Safety Committee members say, many residents have told them they would prefer educational campaigns – particularly to resolve driving issues – rather than to see an increase in the number of tickets being written.

“The police officers said, someone in their department will write an article explaining what citizens should do if there are too many people speeding in their neighborhood,” Henderson said. “And the second police department article will be about laws for crosswalk safety.”

For example, if you are stopped at a crosswalk and pedestrians pass in front of you, it is illegal to proceed through the crosswalk after the walkers have cleared your path, until they are completely off the road and onto the far sidewalk.

After 22 years as a civilian electrical engineer and engineering manager at Hill Air Force Base, Henderson has made a career change, now teaching math at West Hills Middle School (West Jordan) in what he describes as “the most stressful year of my life.”

About the time he started at Hill AFB – in the mid- to late-1990s – Henderson landed on the Taylorsville Public Safety Committee purely by accident.

“I just told the Taylorsville incorporation group I was willing to volunteer… they assigned me to public safety…. I had no background in it… but I joined, and have been on the committee ever since.”

Over the years, the committee has spearheaded a variety of public safety educational initiatives.

“One of our big events is our annual Night Out Against Crime,” he said. “The one coming in August will be our fifth annual. We also staff an informational booth at Taylorsville Dayzz, participate in various other safety fairs sponsored by other agencies and provide public education in other ways.”

The Public Safety Committee has hosted anti-gang conferences, sold discounted radon gas test kits and conducted a variety of safety surveys on things like street lighting and sidewalk safety.

“We’re simply trying to make Taylorsville a little bit nicer place to live,” Henderson said.

The Taylorsville City Council liaison to the Public Safety Committee is chairman Dan Armstrong.

“Neighborhood watch programs take a lot of work,” Armstrong said. “You can’t just appoint people and walk away. You need to make sure someone is keeping the group on track. I am glad the Public Safety Committee is taking this on as a priority.”

Another Taylorsville resident who’s been active on the Public Safety Committee nearly as long as Henderson is former chairwoman Donna Pitman.

“I think we have been able to bring people’s attention to problems and help them get solved,” she said. “The typical number of people at our committee meetings is about six. So, we are always looking for more people – especially if they have valuable ideas to share.”

Public Safety Committee meetings are held at 6 p.m. at Taylorsville City Hall, on the first Thursday of each month. Anyone interested in learning more about the committee should contact chairman Tony Henderson at [email protected]

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