Block watch moves out onto the bay

SANDUSKY Following in the footsteps of the community block watch, residents are now taking their eyes and ears to the water i
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Following in the footsteps of the community block watch, residents are now taking their eyes and ears to the water in a first-ever effort to patrol Sandusky Bay.

Through the initiative, coined the Sandusky Bay Block Watch, marina operators have been trained to report suspicious activity on the water in hopes that local boaters follow their example.

"It's an effort to reach the boating community and I think that's something we miss," said Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse.

While the department does have a police boat for marine patrol, this initiative will incorporate a greater force of citizens to call in crime. Anything that would be considered outside of "normal behavior" should be reported to police, Nuesse said.

"When you're talking homeland security, that's (Lake Erie) our border," said police Lt. Phil Frost.

Six area marinas have teamed with Sandusky police and the Ohio Department of Homeland Security on the initiative.

"There is a possibility of a terrorist attack from this end," said Brian Dickman, manager of the City of Sandusky Boat Ramp. "We're just going to kind of keep an awareness ... if we see something that looks a little suspicious we'll make a call to the police department."

The ramp sees about 30 to 50 boaters on weekdays and up to 100 boaters per day on the weekend.

"It's a courtesy for us to watch each other," Dickman said. "People need to have an awareness of the things that are going on."

Dick Henry, general manager for both Son Rise Marina and Venetian Marina is also involved in the effort.

"We're always looking for better ways to monitor. People in the marina know who should be docking around them," Henry said, adding that on weekends anywhere from 200 to 1,000 people dock there.

The watch is being done in conjunction with the statewide "See Something, Say Something" campaign, most recently launched in Port Clinton. The campaign is sponsored by ODHS and encourages citizens across the state to be aware of any peculiar behavior and to not be afraid to report it.

The "See Something, Say Something" campaign began in January 2006 and has since spread to cities including Toledo, Athens, Cleveland and Dayton, according to Lindsey Wayt, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Homeland Security.

"The people who know those communities best are the ones who live in those communities," she said.

Marinas Involved in the program:

* Cedar Point Marina

* Battery Park Marina

* City of Sandusky Boat Ramp

* Sandusky Harbor Marina

* Sandusky Yacht Club

* Son Rise Marina

* Venetian Marina

Boaters and area marinas that wish to get involved should contact Officer Ommert at 419-627-5798.