Police representative to talk about Westside crime, Guardian Angels at Feb. 10 OWN meeting
Jim Fenimore elected neighborhood group’s president for 2005

       A representative of the Colorado Springs Police Department has been invited to speak about Westside crime and the Guardian Angels at the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) town meeting Thursday, Feb. 10.
       The meeting, open to the public, will be from 7 to 9 p.m.
       “We're going to discuss what kinds of reports the police are getting and what they're aware of,” OWN President Jim Fenimore said. In recent weeks, information has been coming out that vagrants living in and around Fountain Creek are panhandling and causing other problems for residents and businesses.
       Also scheduled to speak at the meeting is Brad Lovell, manager of strategy area improvements for the city's Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). Fenimore said Lovell will discuss the projects - chiefly sidewalks - that are being considered for the older Westside.
       The Guardian Angels, a national volunteer crime deterrent group with a chapter in Colorado Springs, has offered to help with the problem, on the basis that police can't always be around. Local chapter head Peter Dempsey gave a presentation to OWN last month, receiving a favorable vote from the board. The group has since begun active recruiting on the Westside, performed occasional patrols at Red Rock shopping center and - in response to a neighborhood request - considered another patrol location around 29th Street and Colorado Avenue. (See story, Page 1.)
       However, at the Jan. 27 OWN meeting, members expressed less certainty and delayed approving a final letter of invitation to the group.
       Board member Jim Larsen said the Angels “didn't instill a lot of confidence in me.” And Treasurer Dave Hughes said he was opposed to them being on the Westside because the police have not shown support for them.
       Another opinion came from Rose Kliewer, who said that she knows of residents who have complained to the police “and nothing happened.”
       Joyce Gibson defended the Angels, saying she learned about their capabilities when she used to live in Aurora.
       The Guardian Angels are not being asked to give a presentation at the Feb. 10 meeting. Fenimore said OWN's thinking is that “we've heard from the Angels,” and this will be a chance to hear what the police have to say.
       Composed of volunteers, OWN is the chief advocacy group for the older Westside (the area south of Uintah and King streets and between I-25 and Pleasant Valley).
       In other business at the meeting, the OWN board, which had been elected Jan. 13, voted in new officers to serve in 2005.
       Elected President was Jim Fenimore, who has been a board member since fall 2003. Other officers are Vice President Rose Kliewer, Treasurer Dave Hughes and Secretary Welling Clark.
       Kliewer had been treasurer; otherwise, all the officers are new.
       Fenimore, who works as an events planner, said he wants to improve how OWN serves the Westside, including progressing on the proposed historic overlay, working closer with Westside businesses and organizations, enhancing the quarterly newsletter and having interesting speakers or topics at OWN meetings so more residents will attend.

Westside Pioneer article