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Okla. neighborhood watch groups examined after George Zimmerman trial

OKLAHOMA CITY – Many neighborhood associations have them, people who take turns watching their streets.

The watchers are not required to go through any training however, some watch groups take advantage of classes offered by the Oklahoma Police Department.

In no way does that training make the watchers licensed to carry a weapon.

Anyone in Oklahoma serving in the same capacity as George Zimmerman can’t carry a firearm while on neighborhood patrol.

MORE: OKC Police neighborhood watch training 

They aren’t allowed to question a potential suspect and are taught not to get out of their vehicle.

Officials said they are actually taught to back away.

While the extra eyes and ears are very helpful, training is not required by all associations but legal experts said it could definitely help in many aspects.

Not only could a neighborhood watchman be sued by a possible suspect, so could individual residents within the association.

Attorney David Slane said to avoid a lawsuit or to be protected from one, associations need to take legal steps before a situation happens, like setting themselves up as a separate entity.

Slane said a watchman who is hurt while on duty could also sue the neighborhood association and its members.