Crash puts the brakes on Watchmen
A community’s vital pair of eyes and ears are off the road after an accident wiped out its transport.
The Watchmen Community Patrol’s sole patrol vehicle was written off in Manurewa town centre late one Monday night in July.
An alleged drunk driver pulled in front of Angel* while he was out on patrol and handing out blankets to the area’s homeless.
Photos showed the BMW had minor damage to its front left side, but the patrol’s Mitsubishi fared worse with the front caved in.
Patrolman Angel* says the car, which is his personal vehicle, barely made it home. The damage was extensive and the car has been written off by the insurance company.
Angel* didn’t escape unscathed either, injuring his leg in the ordeal.
‘‘I was pretty shaken, in shock really,’’ he says.
Community is in his heart. Being off the road has been difficult, he says.
The patrol has operated from donations in recent years. But with increased costs, the Manurewa Local Board gave it six months funding for fuel.
While insurance should cover a replacement vehicle, Angel* is hoping for a vehicle sponsor to help keep the patrol running.
He is quick to point out the patrol is not affiliated with Community Patrols New Zealand, which once had a patrol around Manurewa.
‘‘We question the situation before jumping in,’’ he says. ‘‘We can get out and talk to them, we’re not cops, but we’ll have a chat and see what they’re up to.’’
He says the patrol ‘‘builds a rapport with the people’’.
But they don’t just deal with crime. Angel* says the Watchmen were first on scene to a large shed fire on Popes Rd in March.
‘‘We could see the smoke from Manurewa, we headed straight there.’’
There, he and another patrolman directed traffic before emergency services arrived.
Inspector Adam Pyne, of Manurewa police, says a 26-yearold man is currently facing numerous charges over the incident.
The man is alleged to have driven with excess breath alcohol and also faces a charge of careless driving.
*Angel codename. is his Watchmen
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