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Renowned crime-fighters seek Youngstown volunteers

Published: Sat, February 19, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.




The Alliance of Guardian Angels is creating a presence in the city and looking for a few good volunteers to help make that happen.

Luis Gonzalez, regional director and Cleveland chapter leader, met with police and several members of city council during a press conference Friday and said the organization will be walking the streets here and looking for others to join their efforts.

The Guardian Angels organization, with members easily recognized in the red beret, red jackets and boots, operate 142 chapters in 15 countries. They are looking to start a chapter in the Youngstown area, fueled in part by the deadly shooting Feb. 6 just off the campus of Youngstown State University.

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said the police department has not entered into any kind of agreement with the organization, but he cannot stop them from taking to the streets and walking the neighborhoods.

He said the department is still working out particulars involved with the Angels’ presence in the city such as liability and training.

Still, Hughes said he supports the organization’s efforts.

“There is something to be said about what they do,” said Hughes. “I am supporting their early efforts and what the Guardian Angels stand for.”

Gonzalez said the organization does have five people from the Youngstown area interested in joining, and they are looking for more. He said those interested need to pass a background check and complete a three-month training course before they would be permitted to walk the streets on patrol with other Angels.

Gonzalez said potential Angels must undergo intensive martial arts and conflict-resolution training, learn how to reach at-risk and problem citizens, and learn laws concerning crime reporting and how to properly detain an individual for police.

“We try to make sure our group is mentally right before they go out there,” he added.

The Guardian Angels, Gonzalez said, walk the streets on patrol in groups of no fewer than five people. The members are all volunteers and carry no weapons. He said they will begin immediate patrols sporadically in various parts of the city.

Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, said a major concern in the city is guns in the hands of a criminal element that operates under a more-violent philosophy. She said the police department needs to operate a CeaseFire program in conjunction with the coming of the Angels to make the organization’s presence more effective.

Tarpley said CeaseFire is a program in which the city identifies the most problematic residents, bring them in to assess their needs, address those needs, then watch for future problems where police and court intervention may be necessary.

Hughes said the department is applying for a grant that will include CeaseFire initiatives.

Gonzalez said he is aware there are problem areas in the city where guns are a reality, but he faces the same issues walking the streets in Cleveland and will not let the potential for guns affect his service to the community.

Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, said he would like to have members of the Guardian Angels organization meet with representatives of the various city block-watch groups to make their presence a collaborative effort. Gonzalez said he would make himself available to the block watches at any time.

Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, Councilman DeMaine Kitchen, D-2nd, and the Dr. Rev. Lewis Macklin II, pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church and president of Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhood (ACTION), also were in attendance.


1InColumbiana(63 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

It sounds like Gonzales is coming down from Cleveland and the rest are locals. I just hope that they don't end up as targets.

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Until the able bodied on the public dole are forced to work their war on society will continue . Crime will continue and the Guardian Angels can't be everywhere .

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3tonne(199 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

i saw a group of Angels talking to some young people on Market Street yesterday afternoon. they were friendly, smiling and shaking hands, and the young people were responding in a positive manner. but i'm afraid the people they meet on our streets at night will not do the same. i'm sure they will have a positive influence on some in the community but it's the ones who remain hostile they need to worry about. how much of an impact do they have in the communities they currently patrol? is it measurable and do they say? i said in another post the other day that until our justice system gets the violent, gun-carrying criminals off the streets and keeps them off, things will not change. the police want a grant to help identify the most problematic residents so they can address their needs and intervene in any future trouble. don't they already know who most of them are? intervention for them is too late. they cannot be saved and will not be productive members of society. they need to be taken off the streets permanently. then maybe those who have not yet become part of the problem can be saved.

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4Left2right4(35 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The Guardian Angels are, "all volunteers and carry no weapons" and "with members easily recognized in the red beret, red jackets and boots" they will be easy targets. Good luck.

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5Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

"Tarpley said CeaseFire is a program in which the city identifies the most problematic residents, bring them in to assess their needs, address those needs, then watch for future problems where police and court intervention may be necessary."

This bothers me. Why in the world do we have to assess their needs? If there problems then something is wrong. You can't pacify residents that have illegal guns. A innocent person might be killed once again.

I wouldn't mind volunteering but probably won't pass the background check. And now the animals know that their not carrying so I can see target practice on them or just for the h@# of it shootings. Invading there territory. Sad.

Wish them the best of luck.

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6Attis(919 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Is this a joke or is it Kasick's answer to police service once he guts public employee rights and unions? Either way it reveals that the power elite has no clue on what to do about homicides and metrocide in Youngstown other than hold press conferences for PR damage control.

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7paulydel(1325 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The Guardian Angels are good at what they do and they are non-confrontational. This a plus for any city or town that uses these guys because they will help provide the security the people need so they don't feel like they are beheld hostage in their own homes.

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8shutyourface(246 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

We have old ladies being murdered in church parking lots but the Guardian Angels are here to save the day.

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9sick_of_stupid_comments(3 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The problem is too many people want to coddle these thugs. What are we supposed to do ask em if they have a gun then give em a hug and bring em down to the station for juice and cookies!? All these suburbanite's hearts bleed for criminals rights and fair treatment but I bet their tune would change if it was their kid gettin killed or housed gettin kicked in! What we need are cops! There are 75 less than there were 5 years ago, and yes that is in Youngstown. I think the Angels have good intention but its too violent for that here. What we need is our Cops back to go head to head with these thugs.

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10tonne(199 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

does anyone really still believe that innercity crime doesn't affect the suburbs? and since when do bleeding hearts live only in them? i live in a rual area but i work in the city and i shop in the suburbs. i'm very much concerned about what goes everywhere, and i don't believe in coodling criminals - ever. this isn't about where you live - its about how you live. will the Angels help? they have an uphill battle and, like others have said, they'll be easy targets for anyone wanting to take them on. maybe we'll just have to wait and see.

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11frankofqueens(3 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The Guardian Angels are a cash cow for Sliwa. He has an insasiable lust for publicity. Now not satisfied with 36 hrs a week on the radio, he wants to go on "Dancing With The Stars"? Where does he get time to "patrol"? He doesn't! The GA are a farce! They've been kicked out of Philadelphia, Camden, various Canadian cities and are being proscecuted in Davenport IA for the violent assault on a US Army Iraq War veteran whose arm they also broke in three places! It is a violent Jim Jones type cult. They have no right to put their hands on anyone! Please, send this media shyster and his stooges back to Canarsie Brooklyn where he crawled out of! go to www.therightperspective.org to find out the truth on this violent cult!

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12Jake(112 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree with BELLAMY1's post.

It's sad to see what has become of Youngstown. Sadder still that I own property and live in Mahoning County.

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13captainpeewee(75 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

send the kardashian sisters to the south side for a mounth they can drain the man hood out of the hood rats, that would do more god,then the angels.

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