North Providence Hosts Toledo And Pawtucket In Community Policing Peer Exchange
On December 10, 1998, North Providence Mayor Ralph Mollis and Police Chief William Devine hosted Pawtucket Mayor James Doyle and Police Chief George Kelley, as well as Toledo Chief of Police Michael J. Navarre for a one-day Peer-to-Peer Exchange on Community Policing. Peer-to-peer exchanges are a key part of The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Community Policing Institute program funded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), under which mayors and police chiefs from cities that wish to implement or expand their community policing efforts are paired with mayors and chiefs who have offered to be host cities, describing their community policing efforts.
The exchange opened with a welcome and buffet breakfast in the mayor's office, and included an awards presentation by the U.S. Secret Service to distinguished members of the North Providence Police Department for their excellence in service to the North Providence community.
"We are delighted to welcome you all here today to highlight some of the great programs we have implemented in the city of Providence," Mayor Mollis said in welcoming the participants. "As you will see, our strong community involvement and commitment to keeping our neighborhoods safe is the key to our success, and we look forward to learning more about what is working in your cities."
Next on the agenda was a presentation on the nationally-recognized "Whistle for Safety" program by Karen Coffee and other members of the Lymansville Crime Prevention Unit at the John F. Fogarty Center.
The "Whistle for Safety" program was precipitated by an attempted kidnapping and assault on a woman with developmental disabilities in Providence's Lymansville neighborhood. The woman, who attended life-skills and employment training classes at a neighborhood training center, was accosted on her way to class. The incident awakened authorities to the fact that residents with disabilities had no training in basic safety precautions. The "Whistle for Safety" program, a nationally recognized training project, was developed in an effort to remedy the situation.
The presentation at the Lymansville location also included a tour of the center, as well as an outline of the numerous programs available to the residents including bicycle helmet safety instructions, child fingerprinting, karate lessons and a senior self-defense program.
The exchange participants then toured the city's community policing storefronts including the West End Community Crime Watch location, the Geneva Crime Prevention location and the Marieville Community Crime Watch location. These tours included ample time for questions and answers, and discussion was lively and interactive.
A noon-time luncheon hosted by Mayor Mollis was followed by a two-hour round-table discussion and workshop at the North Providence High School Library entitled "Crime Reduction in Our Schools." This discussion included members of the North Providence Police Department, School Resource Officers, staff of the North Providence School Department, the North Providence Schools Superintendent, North Providence High School Principal, North Providence High School students, North Providence Substance Abuse Task Force members, and participants from The U.S. Conference of Mayors Community Policing Peer-to-Peer Exchange. The exchange ended with an opportunity for peer exchange participants to observe police officers on foot patrol.
For more information on The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Peer-to-Peer Exchange on Community Policing Program, or if you are interested in hosting or participating in an exchange, please call Kathy Amoroso at (202) 861-6723.