Neighborhood Watch Groups Are to be Eyes and Ears Only

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Neighborhood watch groups are designed to be the eyes and ears of police, not enforce the law themselves.

Most neighborhood watches follow the rules, and confrontations are rare.

But criminal justice experts say that police departments and watch groups need to make sure volunteers do not take matters into their own hands.

The National Sheriffs’ Association launched the neighborhood watch concept 40 years ago as a response to rising crime.

The program’s director, Chris Tutko, says he was flabbergasted to learn that a Hispanic watch captain shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Sanford, Fla.

He says watch volunteers should never be armed.