By Jonathan Weaver
Spreading the word about a possible new combined Ford City and Manor Township crime watch is one of the next goals for proactive local residents.
During the small group’s second meeting last night, Defunct-Manor Township Crime Watch Coordinator Bill McMaster, Ford City Crime Watch officer Darla Bernot and other community residents brainstormed upcoming events to recruit local residents concerned with local drug habits.
In the first quarter of 2015, County Coroner Brian Myers said nearly 10 county residents have died as the result of drug overdose – a number that has only continued to climb.
Manor Township Supervisor Pat Fabian suggested a “Take Back Our Community” event with County law enforcement officials – such as similar events that were held in Elderton, Apollo or Leechburg – to build a support system of local, proactive residents
“If we educate them on how to assist 9-1-1, Manor Township or Ford City Police with information, the better off,” Fabian said.
The Apollo community has continued that fight through “Residents Against Illicit Drugs (RAID) – an education movement founded by Mayor Jeff Held that has met regularly since February.
Bernot and Ford City Police Volunteer Office Secretary Sandy Hutchinson suggested setting up information tables at the Ford City Summerfest July 2-4 in Ford City Park and during the annual “Back 2 School Bash” coordinated through Ford City Police, the Kittanning Salvation Army and the New Life Center each August.
As requested last month, Ford City Police Sergeant John Atherton also passed along information through Hutchinson regarding the National Night Out event – which occurs the first Tuesday of each August (or in about 10 weeks).
According to the Manor Township organization’s original manual, community Watch groups and other crime prevention organizations around the nation hold block parties, cookouts, parades and rallies to promote involvement in crime and drug prevention activities during the annual National Night Out.
Bernot said the event premise is to “get outside and meet your neighbors.”
“Seems like a good program for us to get involved in,” McMaster replied.
The next step toward registering for this August would be via the $35 membership fee.
The Rev. David Croyle of Kittanning began the hour-long meeting in prayer, when he prayed for healing to those who have been victimized and a “new sense of safety and hope” in the local communities between police and volunteers.
More ideas can be suggested during the next meeting at 7PM June 30 at the Latin American Club along 3rd Avenue in Ford City.