“Jessica’s Angels” will Patrol Jeffco streets despite administrators’ concerns

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Parents in Jefferson County may feel a little more comfortable with their kids walking to school.

Not only is there a suspect behind bars in the murder case of Jessica Ridgeway, a group honoring the slain child will began patrolling the streets this week.

The group is called "Jessica's Angels," and it’s comprised of student and parent volunteers who want to make sure the streets of Jefferson County are safe for children who walk to school.

The group was founded by Pomona High School junior Alex Groen, who has paid close attention to every twist and turn in the search for Ridgeway. The Westminster 10-year-old was kidnapped on her way to Witt Elementary School.

"She was just a 10 years old,” Groen said. “That shouldn't happen to kids. That's just one of those things: That shouldn't happen to anybody, especially not a little kid."

Days after Ridgeway’s abduction, Alex turned to social media and began the “Jessica’s Angels” movement as a way to “to turn our sadness and sorrows into something positive.”

Groen’s group has close to 2,500 followers on Facebook.

The group eventually wanted to move from words to action, and it was determined that the best way to do that was to enlist volunteers to patrol the streets near Weber and Warder Elementary Schools.

Those volunteers will be paired up, and placed at several locations within a two-mile radius of the schools. The group is planning to patrol those areas both before and after school while wearing purple, Jessica's favorite color.

"The idea is to keep an eye of for particular individuals or vehicles that may be causing harm,” Groen said.

It seems like a good idea, but Jefferson County has expressed concern. Not only does the county think volunteers may be putting themselves in danger, officials have also expressed concern about volunteers falsely identifying suspects who may have done nothing wrong.

Groen said his group is moving forward despite those concerns.

"Clearly we don't have the ability to approach the individual ourselves without putting ourselves in harm,” he said. “But the fact we have eyes on these kids is creating a deterrent and allowing for more safety to be had in our community."