Regional police say 'Hello' to Avondale
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
On April 23, the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department (SCCRPD) Public Safety Commissioners and the Avondale Borough Council agreed to an 18-month, $90,000 contract with the regional police to provide 24/7 coverage to the borough's 1,400 residents beginning on July 1.
On June 4, several members of the regional police welcomes members of their new constituency to a town hall meeting at the Avondale Fire Company, to introduce themselves to their new neighbors.
Police Chief Gerald Simpson and several officers gave the 40 residents in attendance a one-hour overview of all police operations, and how the coverage of the borough will meld with the department's policing of its existing “sectors” – New Garden Township with its 12,000 residents over 16.3 square miles, and West Grove Borough, which has 2,900 residents in a .65-square mile radius.
Simpson was joined by Deputy Chief Michael King and Lieutenant Joseph Greenwalt in walking the audience through the SCCRPD's day-to-day operations, which includes the executive division, the patrol division and the special operations division, which works with a criminal investigation unit and handles the investigation of serious and complex crimes.
The presentation introduced the audience to the many social media applications they can use to connect to the police for service and to collect or share information, such as Facebook, Twitter and Crimewatch. Greenwalt stressed the importance of community to be proactive in helping the department solve crimes and maintain safety in the community. “We've done it New Garden. We've done in West Grove. It works,” he said. “Everything that is important to you is important to us.”
In an effort to be transparent, “We're publishing our arrest warrants to let you know that we're out there, doing what we said we would do,” King said. “We're arresting criminals. We're arresting drunk drivers. We're following up on investigations, and we're hoping that while this is that individual's worst day ever, maybe it will be a deterrent to not driving drunk in our jurisdiction, or maybe they won't commit a crime.”
King encouraged the audience to join the department in their efforts to keep their community safe.
“We're only going to be as effective as the partnership we build with you,” he said. “There's only a handful of us doing the job. This is your community. Have a stake in it and help us fight crime and make it a better place to live.”
The town hall also introduced Officer Stephen Madonna, who will be primarily assigned to patrol the Avondale Borough and Officer Mario Raimato, the department's school resource officer in the Kennett Consolidated School District.
Adding the borough to its coverage area couldn't arrive at a better time for both borough residents and the the regional department; the SCCRPD's new $4.3 million facility on Gap-Newport Pike is scheduled to open for business by September, and it's just to the south of Avondale's southern border. Having regional police presence in the borough will cost about $68 per resident, Simpson said, but for that price, borough residents will soon become the beneficiaries of a 6.8-minute average response time to police calls made to the SCCRPD.
As part of the presentation, Simpson also praised the partnerships the SCCRPD enjoys with several local agencies, such as the Crime Victims Center of Chester County and the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County “to help deliver services or information to our communities,” he said. “Sometimes in law enforcement, we get a complaint and go on to the next complaint. And when we stop, sometimes these victims are still in need of service. That's where these organizations come in.”
In introducing himself and his officers and his support staff to the audience, Simpson said that it was one of the strongest teams he has worked with in his 36 years of law enforcement.
“We are guided by our four core values – human life, integrity, justice and duty – but there are other qualities about us that shape us as a police organization,” he said, referring to the department's motto. “We are united to serve our communities with excellence.”
“Our mission is to serve you,” King told the audience. “You are now a part of our family, and we want to make a very good first impression with you. I think you will be very pleased with the visible police presence of our agency, beginning on July 1.”
To learn more about the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department, visit www.sccrpd.org.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org.