LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Black empowerment group "New Era Las Vegas" has begun conducting civilian patrols in valley neighborhoods after members say police have failed to do so.
New Era Las Vegas members gathered at Mario’s West Side Market near the intersection of Martin Luther King and Lake Mead boulevards before heading to Kianga Isoke Palacio Park, formerly Doolittle Park, to begin their patrol.
“The purpose of this program is to arm our people with protection. We can't trust the police to do it. We tried that, it did not work. We want to be able to combat police terrorism but also combat the violence in our own black communities," said New Era Las Vegas President Minister Stretch Sanders.
New Era Las Vegas members handed out whistles at the park to women, children and the elderly, telling them to blow on the whistle if ever they are in need of help.
"Anything that goes down while we are around, we're here to patrol it. We can protect and govern our own neighborhood as long as we are around it," said New Era Las Vegas member Damien Smith.
Sanders said for now, the patrols will take place every Tuesday near the area of Kianga Isoke Palacio Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sanders said residents in the area no longer have faith in police and New Era Las Vegas aims to fill the void left behind.
Sanders said he will work with members and train them to deescalate situations where two community members find themselves in an altercation that could get physical.
"Some of us will be armed with whistles and some of us will have pistols," said Sanders. He said the reason for pistols was to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said as long as members of New Era Las Vegas are abiding by open carrying laws, they are free to exercise their second amendment rights but remind residents to call police if they are in danger or to report a crime.