In a move that could start a legal battle, Sanford, Fl., where Trayvon Martin was killed, will discourage neighborhood watch volunteers from carrying firearms, part of an effort to overhaul its police department and improve the city’s tarnished reputation, the Los Angeles Times reports. George Zimmerman, who shot Martin, was a neighborhood watch volunteer.
The city’s new police chief, Cecil Smith, plans changes to the neighborhood watch program, including background checks for all volunteers, a six-week training program for block captains and monitoring by the Police Department. The department also will recommend that program volunteers not be armed. “The objective of neighborhood watch is to observe, identify and report, and that’s what we’re getting back to,” said Smith, who had suspended the program after he took over. He knows there will be push-back, saying, “We’re not going to make everybody happy.”