The Guardian Angels are back in St. Louis. If you've been around St. Louis long enough you remember when they were here in the 1980's. They patrolled the Vaughn public housing projects but their presence in St. Louis never clicked with the local powers-that-be.
Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, says that City Hall didn't want to work with him, the aldermen didn't back him, there was not much support. But this time, things may be different. Sliwa met with the St. Louis Police Department today to talk about setting up a chapter in St. Louis that would patrol the Hyde Park neighborhood in north St. Louis.
He says there are varying degrees of cooperation in the cities were Guardian Angels are present. They have chapter in 140 cities and more than a dozen countries. The best-case scenario would be Washington, D.C., where they have radios they use to communicate with police. A city that doesn't want them around? Boston. Or at least, the powers-that-be in Boston. But they are there nevertheless.
There are still some concerns from City Hall in St. Louis. After Sliwa met with police, he walked across the street and visited with Charles Bryson, the Director of Public Safety. The City wants to know about liability. If something goes wrong, if a Guardian Angel is hurt or killed in an incident, or hurts or kills someone else, would the city be liable? Sliwa says no. He says that, legally, the city would not be responsible.
The Guardian Angel volunteers receive three months of training. They are volunteers. They are not armed when they go on patrols. Sliwa says he is hoping for a dozen to 18 volunteers to begin with to patrol the Hyde Park neighhborhood. He's hoping it will expand to other neighborhoods and perhaps East St. Louis.
If you want to find out more about The Guardian Angels, I've pasted their website here: