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|The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
A citizen observer is a resident appointed by the Chief of Police, or by the Deputy Sheriff, who has met the specific application, background and training requirements for patrolling his or her neighborhood or city subdivision to observe and report suspicious persons and criminal activity. A citizen observer also seeks to mediate between law enforcement and citizens in an effort to establish unity between them. Occasionally, a citizen observer helps law enforcement in the patrolling of businesses as well. A citizen observer is only an ordinary citizen working in behalf of law enforcement and does not have law enforcement titles, authority or prerogatives.
An organization of citizen observers established by a community is called a Citizen Observer Patrol (COP). In large cities where a Citizen Observer Patrol is present, crime is often minimized considerably and fewer criminal acts go unreported to authorities. In addition, citizens in the community feel more secure, and better relations exist between law enforcement and the community.
Citizen Observer.com is a Saint Paul, MN company founded by former Minnesota state Representative John Jordan and author Scotty Roberts after the shooting of Roberts mom by Harvey LaDoucer. John Jordan and Saint Paul resident Terry Troy, along with Citizen Observer president Terry Halsch, created and patented a set of law enforcement tools now used by a number of police departments throughout the United States.