September 13, 2011 6:05 am ET
This annual event celebrates the relationship between the police and community, exemplifing the idea of community policing.
The Baltimore County Police & Community Relations Councils Inc. celebrated their Annual Bull & Oyster Roast at the Tall Cedars located in Parkville on Saturday.
This event brings together all the councils from across the county and highlights the close relationship between the police and community.
Among the estimated crowd of 250 people was a bevy of special guests, including Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson, 5th District Councilman David Marks, Col. Kim Ward, president or of the PCRC, Fred Porcella and honorary guest Justin Cole from 93.1 WPOC.
Police Community Relations Council President Fred Porcella introduced Cole, who called for a moment of silence to remember the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The hall quickly fell silent in memory of that tragic day in our nation’s history.
I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Chief Johnson and discuss the impact of the Police Community Relations Council and its relationship with the department.
“The PCRC is essential in advancing the principles of community policing,” Johnson said. For those unfamiliar with the concept, one of Johnson’s predecessors, Chief Neil Behan, began to incorporate community policing successfully during his 16 years of leadership at the department.
Johnson described community policing as a “a balanced approach in reducing crime.” He noted that the participation and cooperation of the community has shown significant results in the recent crime stats, which show a reduction in auto thefts and burglaries overall in the county. The chief pointed out that many of crime figures are compatible with those in the 1970’s.
Numerous other members of the department and community mingled throughout the evening. The monies raised from this event will go towards the various programs supported by area PCRC’s.
Also present was Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who has three PCRC’s in his district, Towson, Parkville and White Marsh. I might mention that Councilman Marks was the only council member to attend this event. For me, that spoke volumes of his dedication to service and his constituents.
Councilman Marks noted the Citizens on Patrol program and its impact on reducing crime in the neighborhoods where they are active.
I also ran into Eric Washington, who said he will kick off his bid to represent the 6th District in the House of Delegates with a fundraiser in February.
Talk about fond memories. Check out the picture of my hero and youth football coach Gino Marchetti. They don’t make them like that anymore and I ain’t talking about the helmet.
On a sad note, I read that Sergeant Gwendolyn Parrish passed away. Gwen was from Turners Station and studied psychology before joining the department. What I remember most about Gwen was her smile, which could light up a room. I never saw her without a smile. I’m quite sure that smile cured a lot of ills and will be missed.