During her FDLE interview she does not cite any specific policy, rules or regulations regarding Neighborhood Watch participants carrying weapons.
Thanks for this post. Raising the subject has been on my 'to do' list for a while.
I suspect that Dorival is in for a good grilling from O'Mara on 'following'.
NHW policy regarding suspicious persons was discussed three times in her FDLE interview.
Following got a brief, passing mention.
Q: In the policy that you have there, is it the policy of the Neighborhood Watch program to, if they, if they see a suspicious person, or if something[sic] going on, is it their policy to confront those people?
Dorival: Not at all. Actually, during the whole presentation, and in the manuals, [throat clearing noise] excuse me, the coordinator handbook says you don't approach them, you don't make contact. No confrontations. Don't try to get into a physical altercation with them. I mean, you kind of see that kind of wording everywhere. Pretty much what we tell them, is, you're the eyes and ears. That is your position. You're the extra eyes and ears for the police department. And, you don't, you just observe and report, you know. And, there's even a slide here, that talks about not being the vigilante police. "Not the vigilante police. Work with the police. Be our eyes and ears. Report suspicious activity." You know, and, and we go through it, I mean it's repeated several times. We say the opposite of what you're asking. We tell them not to get into any kind of confrontations.
The slide Dorival read from is number 7 in the PowerPoint presentation.
Q: So, again, the policy is for them to simply observe and report.
Dorival: Observe and report. That's -
Q: Not to follow, not -
Q: - obviously carry a firearm -
Q: - and confront individuals on the property.
Dorival: No, not at all.
Dorival: We always tell them, let the police do their job. Call us, and let us take care of it. You don't have to confront them. You know, we don't want you to confront them. Because then we have to go there, and there's more issues. But, what we, what we always tell them is just call us. Call us, and let us handle it, whatever issue you think is happening.
Dorival: It's all right down the second page [of the coordinator's handbook]. "What you will not do is get physically involved with any activity you report or apprehensions of any suspicious persons. This is the job of the law enforcement agency."
Text similar to what Dorival read is near the bottom of the third page of the document
linked as 'Sanford Neighborhood Watch ProgramHandbook.' The only difference is that 'apprehension' is singular in the text.
This may be the same document Dorival called 'the coordinator's handbook', with the first page an unnumbered cover for the hard copy.
When one of the investigators brought up following, he folded it into a three part question. The other two were issues Dorival had previously addressed, firearms and confronting. After answering that none of those were NHW policy, Dorival chose confronting as the issue to talk about some more.
Dorival didn't mention following again, and none of the investigators asked again.
She didn't say whether she brought up following in her presentation. She didn't say if any resident of The Retreat at Twin Lakes asked a question about it. She didn't say whether she explicitly discouraged following. She didn't say if she told the people that observing was not to include changing positions to keep a suspect in sight. She didn't cite any NHW program materials on the subject.
I've looked through the materials myself without finding an explicit direction never to follow. There's an admonition on p. 15 of the handbook that's a bit stronger than those above.
Do not take any risks to prevent a crime or try to make an arrest.