Volunteers of the year Paul Bennett and Dallas D. Dupree, along with nominee Sylvia Weaver and Maj. Avery Moore. (Courtesy DPD)

The northeast Dallas Police patrol division, made up mostly of Lake Highlands and the northern White Rock Lake area, is recognized citywide as an area having more crime watch volunteers than any other around Dallas, and (perhaps hyperbolically) the world.

An annual volunteer recognition event — held last Tuesday — has grown so much over the years that organizers had to move it to a bigger building.

Several hardworking volunteers including more than 250 members of the White Rock Partnership, which encourages crime watch and volunteer patrols in our neighborhoods, attended — several including WRP president David Pittman and wife Barbara, Mike Nurre, Cristal Rentana, District 10 councilman Adam McGough, Donna Mason and others were honored for their efforts bringing citizens and police together.

Northeast officers Bervin Smith, Mitch Gaston, Ketric Jones and acting commander Major Avery Moore, who spearheaded the event, also were applauded for their collaboration with volunteers.

It is quite unanimously understood the partnership between police and citizens is vital to keeping crime at bay.

Many times as we’ve reported on crime in the White Rock area, law enforcement experts have stressed the importance of “pulling together.”

“No matter how concentrated the law enforcement effort, it will take more than that to turn the tide of crime in Lake Highlands,” noted the northeast commander way back in 2009. “The cooperation of apartment owners, city leaders, and volunteers is essential … Our area’s army of volunteers is one of the most vital combatants we have when it comes to crime reduction, he says. There are 1,500 to 2,000 volunteers involved in Northeast crime watch groups and similar organizations. Those are impressive numbers, but [the northeast commander] says they could benefit by being more organized.”

Since then, organization efforts have increased. That is felt both at celebratory events (such as the aforementioned) and in crime statistics which, more recently, show a decrease in crime overall.

Volunteer recognition event photo collage courtesy David Pittman via Dallas Police Department

How to get involved? Visit the Dallas Police Department’s site for information on regular VIP orientation classes, which also regularly are posted on Facebook and NextDoor.