We’d like to give a nod to everyone involved with the stories in the RI Argus today, and on WQAD-TV friday. Here’s the story from today’s Argus in case you don’t subscribe-
Angels’ presence now welcome in Davenport
Posted online: March 15, 2008 9:51 PM
Print publication date: 03/17/2008
By Anthony Watt , email@example.com
There were a few rough spots at first, but the relationship between
the Davenport Police Department and Guardian Angels is going more
The Angels, founded in New York City, agreed to open a Quad-Cities
chapter at the request of Davenport Ald. Bill Lynn, 5th Ward, in 2006.
The volunteer group patrols city streets, intervening and even
detaining suspects until police arrive.
Former Davenport police chief Michael Bladel opposed a Guardian Angels
presence in Davenport.
But Davenport Police Lt. Dale Sievert, who acts as department liaison
to the Angels, said that relationship “has definitely improved. At the
beginning, everybody was trying to feel their way through things.”
Initially, police questioned how the Angels handled some situations
and were concerned about the group being vigilantes, but those concerns
largely have been smoothed over, said Ald. Lynn, adding that he thinks
“they’re doing an excellent job.”
The local Guardian Angels’ chapter leader agreed the situation was a
little tense at first, but has improved greatly. The man, who asked to
be identified only by his nickname of Bard, said that at first, when
they detained someone, every police officer who responded would ask
them “20 questions” about what happened.
“The officers didn’t know how to take us,” he said, adding that there
was concern for the volunteer patrol’s safety and motives.
Since then, the group has developed a good working relationship with
the higher police ranks and earned the respect of most of the street
officers, Bard said.
“I believe that now they’ve come to the understanding that we’re not
out there to beat people up,” he said.
Sometimes, officers even ask them for help — for example, to stand by
as an officer talks to multiple individuals in an incident, Bard said.
“I would say we have an excellent relationship with the police
The group currently has 11 “very active” Guard Angel members who patrol
regularly, and a handful who don’t participate as often, Bard said.
They are active only in Davenport, although they would work in other
area communities if invited and if residents volunteered to help patrol,
In Davenport, Angels patrol from Locust Street to the Mississippi
River and from Iowa Street to Marquette Street, he said, adding that
the group would like to expand its range and always is recruiting.
The chapter also could use donations of money or time from the
community, Bard said. Recently, the group began offering a free
women’s self-defense course.
The Guardian Angels would like to become certified to assist in
disaster relief for events such as floods, so they could help first
responders, he said.
The police department is trying to get some donated bicycles for them
so the group can begin patrolling bike paths, according to Lt. Sievert a
Bard said he hopes to see bike patrols on the paths and elsewhere in
Davenport within the next few weeks.
How effective has the group been?
Recently, a group of Guardian Angels detained an alleged drunk driver
after he crashed his car, according to police reports.
Last year, an Angel trainee stopped a man from beating a woman in
Moline and detained him until police arrived. Another incident
involved a man being detained after striking someone with a brick.
Bard said the group has assisted in 12 to 15 arrests since they began
operating in Davenport.
Although he didn’t have a tally, Lt. Sievert said the volunteer group
has assisted police several times by pointing out people who may be
involved in a crime and other things, calling the group “another set
of eyes and ears to assist us.”
Lt. Sievert said it’s hard to say how effective the citizen patrols
have been, because there may have been many situations where their
very presence stopped something before it happened. “You don’t know
what they’ve actually prevented.”
He said the police department shares the same crime information with
the group that the news media receives.
Ald. Lynn cited an incident where the group drove drug dealers away
from a particular intersection simply by standing there. “They didn’t
want that presence (the Angels) around there.”
Ald. Lynn also said he received a call from a young man who was
attacked outside a bar and credited the Guardian Angels with possibly
saving his life after he yelled for help.
“They have been doing a better job than I could have expected.”
To support the Guardian Angels:
Anyone interested in supporting or joining the Guardian Angels
can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more about the Guardian Angels, visit http://www.guardianangels.org.
Comments on just about anything are welcome.