Towson Area Citizens on Patrol ride for crime prevention

With lights flashing and horns and sirens blaring, dozens of Towson Area Citizens on Patrol vehicles joined Baltimore County Police and Providence Volunteer fire trucks on a 90-minute ride through every corner of Towson Tuesday night.

The ride was Towson's celebration of National Night Out, the 30th edition of the nationwide event aimed at keeping crime out of the community.

Tuesday's chill and the threat of rain kept many indoors along the parade route, which featured 50 turns and rolled through 28 miles of road in the Towson area. But Towson Area Citizens on Patrol President Mike Calwell called the event "fantastic."

"We had a fair amount of people come out and support us… people who recognized that we're Citizens on Patrol and supported our efforts," Calwell, of Rodgers Forge, said.

As the motorcade, which featured half of the 24 Citizens on Patrol groups in the Towson area, rolled through the community, many residents came outside to wave to the procession. Others, with puzzled looks on their face, stepped out only long enough to ensure the sirens and flashing lights weren't on their way to an actual crime.

The motorcade left Towson Place at 6 p.m., after a brief ceremony in which Calwell thanked the police for their efforts in the area. Specifically, Calwell commended Chief Jim Johnson and Captain Richard Howard, commander of the Towson precinct, for their efforts in quickly finding a suspect in last month's murder in Rodgers Forge.

Johnson, in turn, told the Citizens on Patrol groups that they "continue to play an important role in the decrease in crime in Baltimore County."

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