Neighborhood Watch cofounder quits

by Robb Fulcher
Published September 17, 2009

Kelly Kovac-Reedy has stepped down from a leadership position in the hugely successful Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Watch that she cofounded. Citing personal reasons, Kovac-Reedy also announced she will resign from the city’s Emergency Preparedness Advisory Commission.

“She will be greatly missed and we wish her the best,” said Hermosa Beach Police Chief Greg Savelli.

“She has played an invaluable role with her commitment and involvement in Neighborhood Watch, and she has greatly benefitted the residents and the city as a whole,” said Neighborhood Watch cofounder Tracy Hopkins.

Many communities, including Hermosa, have seen neighborhood watch groups start up, struggle along for a bit and then fade away. But when Kovac-Reedy and Hopkins founded the current incarnation of Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Watch in 2006, the grassroots organization took off, becoming active in more than 130 city blocks in its first year.

“She has been a tremendous force for change and networking in our community. The work she has done, along with her partner Tracy, has been terrific,” Savelli said. “The city’s residents and the city itself are in a much better position today to resist crime and recover from any disaster than it was before Kelly’s involvement with the city and her stewardship of the program.”

He said Kovac-Reedy and Hopkins combined crime prevention and disaster preparedness efforts in a way that was recognized by an award for innovation from the State Attorney General’s Office.
He also pointed out that Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Watch received two awards for its enthusiastic participation in National Night Out, an annual event featuring block parties and demonstrations by police and firefighters.

In 2007 Kovac-Reedy was named Woman of the Year by the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.

Hopkins said Kovac-Reedy called her last week to say she would be resigning her posts. Kovac-Reedy did not give a specific reason, but Hopkins said the call did not take her completely by surprise.

“I respect her decision,” Hopkins said, adding that it would allow Kovac-Reedy to focus on “priorities” that are personal.

Hopkins said she probably would seek another coordinator to assist her in running Neighborhood Watch. She said the organization would continue to help Hermosans increase community preparedness, “resist crime, and better recover from any disaster we may face.”

When Kovac-Reedy was named Woman of the Year, the chamber cited her work with Neighborhood Watch and the commission, her efforts to help form a network of ham radio operators to assist in severe emergencies, and her volunteer efforts for the chamber, the Hermosa Arts Foundation and the city’s Centennial Committee.

The following year the chamber’s executive director had some words of criticism for Kovac-Reedy and a civilian patrol, called Volunteers In Police Service, of which she was a member.

Kovac-Reedy and Police Chief Greg Savelli vigorously defended the civilian patrol. Kovac-Reedy also said she apologized for one incident in which she asked a business when it would close for the night, received a foggy answer, and said she would look up the business’ city permit to find out. ER