Cove PD launching Cove Watch
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove Police Department is launching a program to help both the department and the community network to help prevent and solve crime.
Cove Watch is a voluntary program for which residents can register, said Sgt. Martin Ruiz, community services officer for the CCPD.
Similar to the city’s emergency notification program, Code Red, Cove Watch will enable residents to receive real-time information about crimes occurring within their neighborhood.
Interested residents can complete a registration form which includes their name, address, phone number and email, and if they have security cameras on their property. Also, they can select the type of notification they’d like to receive from the department and if they’d like to participate in the department’s video surveillance partner program.
Knowing if a resident has security cameras can be helpful in the event the police department would need a neighborhood’s help in solving a crime, such as a burglary or vehicle break-in, said Ruiz.
“This summer when there was a rash of vehicle burglaries, we didn’t know if anyone had video,” Ruiz added. “This will actually help us out, where if they do register and they have video and share it with us, to help us catch burglars.”
The department has already had some success with using its social media and online presence to solicit the public’s help in solving local crimes.
“I think our record is eight minutes for identifying a suspect. We put it out there and within a few minutes, we hear, ‘I know that person.’ They gave us the name, and sure enough, it was them,” Ruiz said of the department using its Facebook page to release store security camera photos of individuals who are sought by the department. These crimes have involved debit or credit card abuse, as well as theft of services or merchandise, and even bank or convenience store robberies.
“We’ve gotten a lot of people identified by that way, at least half, to maybe 80 percent. You put it out there, and somebody knows them.”
Ruiz said Cove Watch is really going to help the department’s Criminal Investigation Division.
“They get all the burglaries, and if they have video, or even a still picture of something or someone, it will help them out tremendously.”
When a crime is committed in a neighborhood and the department is seeking help with the investigation, a notification will be sent out to those who have registered for Cove Watch.
Right now, Ruiz said officers are going throughout their areas, asking residents to sign up, if interested. Ruiz said the form hasn’t been loaded to the website yet, but expects it to be available in early October.
“Once we get the database up and running, we literally have to physically put them into our system, they will receive a text, email, or both after a crime occurs. We’ll send out that message to them, just in case they saw something.”
The department is presently gearing up for its annual National Night Out Kickoff party, set for Saturday, September 30. National Night Out will be observed in Copperas Cove on Tuesday, October 3. Residents can sign up for Cove Watch now, or during either of those events. Ruiz said the department will go live with the program in October.