Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Picnic with Police" This Weekend

When Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele unveiled a community prosecution unit in Pottstown in July he said one of the goals of that unit is to improve the quality of life in the community through preventative efforts such as meeting with community members to address concerns before problems occur.
Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele

“Hopefully, there will be a deterrent effect. Ultimately, through law enforcement efforts and through partnerships with the community, these ongoing efforts will result in economic growth and vibrancy. That’s our vision of the community prosecution unit,” Steele said then.

Steele must be commended for keeping his promise to have the prosecutors who helm the unit participate in community events. Prosecutors participated in the “Stop the Drugs, Stop the Violence” event on July 23 and Pottstown’s “National Night Out” on Aug. 2.

Now comes word that prosecutors will be front and center at the “Picnic with Police” Pottstown communitywide event from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday Oct. 22 at Chestnut Street Park.

“Pottstown residents of all ages are encouraged to come out, enjoy some good food, spend time with their neighbors and meet the beat officers,” said Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood, captain of the Pottstown Community Prosecution Unit. “We’re looking forward to seeing everyone.”

Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood
The District Attorney’s Office is partnering with the NAACP Pottstown Chapter and the Pottstown Police Department to host the first annual “Picnic with Police.”

Similar to the widely acclaimed “National Night Out,” which annually brings together police with communities they serve, the new event seeks to bring together all members of the Pottstown community for a fun, family-oriented picnic to meet their local beat officers, including the new officers who have recently joined the force. There will be free grilled hot dogs, snacks and drinks as well as games, music and free giveaways.

“This is a family-oriented event to bring everyone together for casual conversations or to discuss community issues while having fun,” said Pottstown Police Chief F. Richard Drumheller.

“We are blessed in Pottstown to have such strong and vibrant organizations. And coming together to relate on an informal basis with our police officers is important on so many fronts,” said Jonathan Corson, Pottstown NAACP interim president. “It is always better to have strong lines of communications in place before there ever might be a problem to face together.”

In addition to Ringwood, the new prosecution unit includes experienced prosecutors Heather Hines and Richard H. Bradbury Jr., who have a combined 13 years of service with the district attorney’s office and will handle all criminal cases originating in Pottstown. The team has an office at the police department and are there every Wednesday and at other times as needed throughout the week. Residents are invited to share crime tips or community concerns with the team members.

The prosecutors have been meeting with community leaders and stakeholders to gather input about the problems that exist and to discuss opportunities that exist to make Pottstown a good community in which to live.
Prosecutors (l-r) Richard Bradbury Jr., Heather Hines, Brianna Ringwood/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.

Realizing that no single entity can achieve such goals on its own, the prosecutors are looking for collaborations and suggestions from community stakeholders.

“The only way that we are successful in making Pottstown better, and achieving that vision that I’ve heard echoed throughout all my meetings with various people in the community, is by working together. That’s why it’s so important to meet with people and hear their perspective,” Ringwood told me earlier this year.

Here’s hoping that borough residents and community leaders come out this weekend for a day of fun, meaningful discussions and collaboration. 

Kudos to the district attorney’s office, Pottstown police and NAACP leaders for keeping the discussion going, promoting goodwill and helping Pottstown thrive.

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