Peace Walks Continue

His name was Officer Flanagan, and he was the cop that walked the streets in my neighborhood as I was growing up, and he knew the name of every kid, and every kid knew him because our parents repeatedly told us if someone bothers or hurts you find a cop and he will help.

In the summer when we were all in the street playing jump rope, kick the can or hide and seek he could be seen walking up the street when he would bellow while calling us out by name “come on it’s getting dark get home.” We all went home. Unfortunately not all kids were told to trust the police, and at times with good reason. That needs to change.

Chauvin,a former police officer who murdered George Floyd, is not one of the good guy’s and deserves the guilty plea’s he received. One picture is worth a thousands words, and I believe that. Prayers have been heard and answered and I’m hoping mine will be also. My prayer is people will not paint all cops with the Chauvin brush.

WPB has it’s problems in the northend of the city with gangs, drugs and too many killings. In an attempt to bring peace to the northend former Mayor Muoio started the first “Peace in the Streets” walk, and it was organized by Pastor Kevin Jones and volunteers walked the streets monthly talking to residents, asking them to display Peace Signs in their yard and their response was always yes. They thanked us for being there. We always had information for them along with job applications, where to get help if needed and programs the city offered.

We were always accompanied by police officers who kept one eye on us while spending time with the young kids. Officer Seth Buxton had a pocket full of peel and stick police badges and the kids flocked to him for one. Officer’s gave the kids a ride on their Segways and the picture shown is of retired Officer Pinto who thrilled one young man with a ride and the kids lined up for their turn. If you look at the smile on the kids face they were not afraid of the boggy man (cop) No, nothing to fear here. I loved the program and could see the good it was doing especially with the kids who were seeing cops in a different light.
The monthly walks continued for approximately 3 years when we took our last walk in Feb. 2020 without benefit of a police escort in the most dangerous sections of the city. What the hell happened?

I complained about it at the next City Commission meeting and James responded with “I don’t managed the Chief’s schedule.” Really. Another one of Mayor Muoio’s program scrapped.

If kids are in a gang, some as young as 12 or 13 it is my belief these kids are hard to reach as they already belong to “something or someone.” That leaves the younger kids who the police try to reach out too. I have enclosed pictures from previous walks and if you double click I ask you to look at the smiles on the young faces.
There is good news on the horizon. The police dept. is starting the Peace Walk again and the first one is scheduled for this coming Friday April 23,2020 @ 7:30 PM @ 4105 Pinewood Street. The only way they will have a cancellation is if severe weather occurs.
I would like to invite residents to join us and receive the gift of knowing you are helping others by showing we care and walk away with a good feeling knowing you possibly made a difference in someones life.

Pictures are of Former Chief of Police Sara Mooney talking to young children.

Officer Pinto giving children a ride on his Segway.

Children enjoying a WPB Police dog.