Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

Town, village neighbors plan to keep watch


VALATIE – The Town of Kinderhook and the Village of Valatie held their first joint neighborhood watch meeting last week at Barnwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Village Mayor Gary Strevell, Town Board Members Pasty Leader and Deb Simonsmeier, and Deputy Sheriff Wendy Guntert meet with about 20 community members to discuss the future of the neighborhood watch as a combined effort with “team leaders” in different neighborhoods in the municipalities.

“I should have been out of this six months ago,” Deputy Guntert said of her involvement with neighborhood watches. The town and village have been meeting with her separately for several months. But the deputy said it was time for the municipalities to take over organizing the watch and holding the meetings.

Ms. Leader talked about neighbors checking in on each other not just when there is a crisis and about having ways to contact people in the community who don’t have access to computers and might not be comfortable calling 911.

Someone at the meeting suggested having residents volunteer as team leaders for their neighborhoods. The leaders would be in contact with the local law enforcement agencies about crime in their area and would reach out to their neighbors.

Mr. Leader said she would bring a town map to the next meeting so they could look at how they would divide up the area and asked for suggestions on who would volunteer as a team leader.

In the meantime, Mayor Strevell and Deputy Guntert emphasized the importance of locking house and car doors as a deterrent to would-be thieves. Also, Deputy Guntert talked about using lighting around a property, and she urged people to 911 if you they hear or see anything suspicious.

The watch group will meet again Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m. at Barnwell on Church Street in Valatie.  Information is posted on the village website,

To contact Emilia Teasdale email


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