The Harrodsburg City Commission declined to give their blessings to a neighborhood watch program after commissioners and police expressed concerns about the legality of some of the tactics used by the group’s founder.
Members of the “I Love Broadway” Neighborhood Watch program asked for the city’s blessings Monday. The group’s founder, Andy Miner, a handyman known as “Handy Andy,” laid out their plans. In addition to patrolling the neighborhood, the group, which is made up of residents of Broadway and other nearby streets, plans to meet monthly at local churches and issue a newsletter every month.
While every member of the city commission expressed support for neighborhood watch programs, they were worried about the possible legal ramifications of some of the tactics used by Miner, who has led a one-man gentrification campaign on Broadway, the oldest street in Kentucky. Miner assured the commission the watch would not act as a law enforcement agency.
“We are not vigilantes,” he said.
Miner has outfitted his property with an array of surveillance cameras and has posted pictures online—as well as distributed them to elected officials, reporters and law enforcement officers—of what he calls drug dealers.
Commissioner Scott Moseley brought this up Monday night.
“I assure you with 100-percent confidence they are actual drug transactions,” Miner said.
“It was Sid Dunn’s car delivering wings,” said Moseley. “You took a picture of his car and put it all over Facebook.”
Miner said he had a source in the Kentucky State Police.
When Harrodsburg Police Chief Brian Allen said it would be illegal for a KSP employee to release that sort of information, Miner said it only happened once.
“That’s all it takes,” Allen said.
In June, one of Miner’s neighbors, Lucille Hayden, came before the Harrodsburg City Commission to complain about Miner trespassing on other peoples’ property and posting pictures on Facebook. In particular, Hayden was upset Miner dumped dirt and debris taken from the creek on another person’s property.
At the time, Miner said he was in the process of acquiring the property. Once the police were called, he said he apologized and removed the dirt.
On Monday night, Miner said the woman who complained in June wasn’t really Hayden.
“All I’ve had are positive comments,” said Miner, who presented a petition signed by 36 people who support the neighborhood watch. Miner called his efforts to clean up Broadway a “spiritual calling.”
Miner also handed out a lawsuit he is filing against a neighbor’s property. Both Harrodsburg Mayor Art Freeman and Mercer County Judge-Executive Milward Dedman are named as defendants. Miner is attempting to take over a house that is delinquent on taxes.
“What is it you want us to do?” Freeman asked.
Miner said he wanted the city’s permission to install a neighborhood watch sign.
Chief Allen asked for it to be tabled until they discussed it further.
“We don’t want you to get yourselves in trouble,” Freeman said. “Give us a little time to talk this over.”
The next city commission meeting will be on Monday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m.