In recent months, under the leadership of Police Chief James Salerno and with the active support of the Board of Commissioners, the Port Washington police department has implemented a new approach to community outreach. The leaders of the department are hitting the road to hold small community meetings and the Board of Commissioners is planning a series of public board meetings at locations other than police headquarters.
Chief Salerno said, “The objective of having our public meetings held in venues outside Police Headquarters is to increase community involvement and afford residents a better opportunity to interact with the leaders of their police department.” The impetus for the smaller community meetings over large forums percolated after a series of forums the department hosted in August and September 2014 to improve the peninsula’s “livability.”
Salerno said, “Afterwards, we critiqued both events internally. I decided that we should have smaller, area specific forums in order to increase our involvement within the community and give residents an opportunity to engage with their police department in a more intimate fashion. The mission of the forums is to: Share insights and exchange ideas. Disseminate accurate, pertinent, timely, and vital information. Dispel misinformation. Identify potential problems and devise solutions.”
The outreach program includes topics that are important and relevant to the community, such as scams and identity theft. But Salerno stressed that the commissioners and officers want to hear what is on the minds of community members as well.
On April 15, the police department hosted a public safety forum at Port Washington North village hall. The objective was an exchange of ideas and concerns. Residents attending the forum had lots of questions about the prevention of identity theft and burglary prevention.
On April 21, the Commissioners held their first ever board meeting outside of headquarters at Littig House at Harbor Homes in the Cow Bay section of town. Residents observed the process of a board meeting and during public comment the commissioners heard from residents.
Chief Salerno said that the local meetings would continue. “There is no set number of meetings planned, but we are looking at different venues. We have been in discussion with the Village of Baxter Estates. In September, we have plans to hold a forum at the Chabad of Port Washington. We will also consider presenting to civic or other community groups as well. Any meeting scheduled to take place outside of Police Headquarters will be properly advertised.”