To: Governor Ron DeSantis

Breach in Neighborhood Watch Policies

We demand to know why the Home Owners Association of the Sanford residential community, where an unarmed youth was recently gunned down, are not following protocol for implementing a "neighborhood watch" representative on their property. And what law enforcement agency was monitoring their private "neighborhood watch" program?

Why is this important?

Recently an unarmed youth, the late Mr. Trayvon Martin, was gunned down by a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch volunteer. We would like to know why the Sanford Police Department did not have law enforcement officers monitoring and training this private "volunteer effort."

Neighborhood Watch is a nationally recognized organization sponsored by Law Enforcement agencies all over the nation. The volunteer efforts of citizens are monitored and training hours are required before a resident can distribute information, attend meetings, or call a local law enforcement agency to report a crime, or suspicious activity. Any Neighborhood Watch volunteer is knowledgeable in following proper procedure because the Law Enforcement response time is quicker. According to the "nationally" recognized procedure:

A) State name, organization (ex: Neighborhood Watch Block/Member)
B) Reason for call
C) Identifying clothes, tag#, direction alledged individual(s) are traveling.
D) Release call if no further info required
E) Alert residents listed on "Telephone Chain" card of this action.

The suspect in the Martin case, George Zimmerman, did not follow proper procedure. He did not identify himself-according to the 911 tapes-as a Neighborhood Watch Representative. There are various items which identify an individual as "acting suspiciously." Zimmerman did not effectively report why he considered the actions of this "unarmed youth" as suspicious behavior. The vague terminology used in itself did not warrant for "Zimmerman" to pursue Mr. Martin. There are certain guidelines which deem whether activity is suspicious:

--Someone screaming or shouting for help
--Someone looking into windows and parked cars
--Unusual noises
--Property being taken out of houses where no one is at home or a business is closed
--Cars, vans or trucks moving slowly without apparent destination, or without lights
--Anyone being forced into a vehicle
--A stranger sitting in a car or stopping to talk to a child
--Abandoned cars

We would also like to know what training material or guidelines was "Zimmerman" following? If this is a private "watch" sponsored by the Home Owners Association for this Sanford personal property; there has been a serious breach in protocol. Who will be held accountable for this breach in policy?

Tina Chestnut
Neighborhood Watch Block Captain
District 5 (Orlando, Florida)