Parkersburg and Wood County Neighborhood Watch

Zello Communications for Watch Groups

At our March meeting, Sheriff Rick Woodyard recommended that we use the free Zello phone app for communicating within and among our Watch Groups. The app is free and is available for both Android and Apple iOS. You can read about the app at The app for Android can be downloaded HERE or from your Google Play app. The app for Apple iPhones can be downloaded HERE or from your App Store.

Why Do This?

On the Zello website it says, “Zello’s push-to-talk walkie-talkie app lives on your phone, delivering unlimited and secure private channels and crystal clear broadcasts over cell networks and Wi-Fi. With no need for expensive specialized equipment or tower leases, you can finally afford to give everyone a voice.”

Once all our cell phones are set up for the Zello system, all the members of the Co-op and of your Watch Group can be alerted to events in your neighborhood with the simple press of a single button on your phone, and members can communicate with each other useing the Zello app as a walkie-talkie. This is the system that is used by our city and county Drug Task Force and SWAT teams, so many of our city and county officers already have the app on their phones. As we become proficient in the use of the system, we may some day be able to speak directly to officers who are responding to an incident that we have reported.

A number of our Watch Groups perform routine patrols within their neighborhoods. It is important that patrolling Watchers be able to stay in immediate contact with someone who is in their home serving as a “base station.” The Zello app provides that contact as well as among all the members of the Watch Group.

As we found out during the 2012 Deracho, in the event of a community-wide disaster first responders may take up to 72 hours to reach those in need of assistance, and in the wake of a disaster, law enforcement may be unable to adquately patrol damaged neighborhoods. In such a case, it is up to neighbors to see to the health and safety of each other through community programs like Neighborhood Watch and the Community Emergency Response Teams. Through this communications system we will also have the ability to stay in direct contact with each other in the event of a disaster.

Setup Overview

QR Code for Zello Channel
“All Pkb/WC Neighborhood Watch”

QR Code for All Pkb/WC Neighborhood Watch

Setup is relatively simple. There are two setup instruction pages on this website, one for Android phones and one for iPhones and other iOS devices. There are also detailed instructions for both device types on the Zello website. In the User Guide for your particular phone, set up your phone following the instructions in “Section 1: User Account Tasks.” Follow the instructions to set up your user account and basic settings under the following headings:

Once you have your basic setup done, you want to add our group channel. To scan a QR code and add a channel:

  1. From the Main Menu, tap CHANNELS.
  2. Tap the Add Channel icon in the lower right corner.
  3. Tap Scan QR code.
  4. Focus the green scanner box on the QR code  on this page until it’s focused and is read in
  5. Once read into your device, the channel is automatically added to your Channels list.

We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the User Guide for your model phone.

Watch Group Channels

We recommend that each Watch Group Captain set up a “private” channel for your own Watch Group. Instructions are under “Section 2: Channel Tasks” under the headings “Creating Your Own Channel” and “Inviting more contacts and sharing your channel.” Refer to the instruction page for your particular device: iPhone or Android.


All Pkb/WC Neighborhood Watch

Page last updated on Saturday, 15 April 2023 03:29 PM