By: Sarah Snyder
Tempers flared at Thursday night's meeting in Gardendale. Ector County law enforcement addressed heated concerns about a recent rash of break-in's. They met with a packed house of families trying to come up with a new solution.
The meeting at the Gardendale Community Center was standing room only. The issue comes down to people say there's not enough protection, and law enforcement says they don't have enough officers to go around.
"Since our caseload has increased, the guys are going from call to call," Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson, said.
Donaldson called the meeting to help people in Gardendale create a neighborhood watch program and consequently help them figure out way to keep their community safe. But after a string of five burglaries in September, many want officials to have a full time deputy designated for Gardendale.
"I'd like to see a full time deputy out here patrolling the streets, making Gardendale safe like it used to be," Gardendale Neighbor, Kevin Reed, said.
Sheriff Donaldson told the crowds, areas like South and West Odessa consume a huge number of their calls, and as of October, there's only been one home burglary in Gardendale.
He promised to send a Deputy if there's a specific need, but right now he wants the community to focus on a neighborhood watch program.
"The more eyes we have out there, the better off all of us are in watching out for the criminals," Sheriff Donaldson said.
Others still insisted that's not enough.
"Two of my neighbors had been burglarized and I've heard of others," Gardendale Neighbor, Donna Houston, said. "I had an alarm system put in lately just because of what had been going on out here."
Donna was one of the dozens who signed up as neighborhood watch captains - volunteers who plan to train how to look for suspicious activity and how to contact law enforcement.
"All of us get together and know who's supposed to be at their home and who's not supposed to be at their home," Houston said. "That's the only way you can do that."