Saturday, August 26, 2000

Neighborhoods


Avondale is losing key officer

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        Transferring Police Officer Shawn George out of Avondale was just like the Reds trading Denny Neagle, their best pitcher.

        At least that's how Tom Jones, director of the Avondale Public Safety Task Force, sees it.

        “Just when we were winning the war on drugs out here, the city transfers our star officer,” Mr. Jones said. “This doesn't make any sense and it means the city is reneging on its promise to help clean up this area.”

        Assistant Police Chief Col. Ronald Twitty said Mr. George will become a school-resource officer, a job he wanted.

        “Mr. Jones can be part of the interview process to fill the position,” Col. Twitty said.
       

Making a difference
        That's not quite the same thing. Officer George and Ron Avant , with their knowledge of Avondale, were making a difference, especially along Burnet Avenue.

        They had coordinated a number of drug busts which resulted in more than 300 arrests.

        It is conceivable that Officer Avant will get another partner and the work can go on. But this is a serious interruption in the community-oriented policing process.

        Officer George has started his new job as a resource officer at Taft High school.

        “I wanted this job. I like working with kids and this gives me a chance to be close to them,” Officer George said. “I hate to leave Avondale. If I could do both jobs, I would.”

        Officer George defined what community policing means. He knew the people, the area, every building, every street, every side street where drug dealers hid, ran and made deals.

        His presence on the street built the confidence of the people, which is an important part of community policing.

        “With officers George and Avant on the streets, people were beginning to speak out,” Mr. Jones said. “The city doesn't seem to realize how bad the intimidation factor is out here. Just when we were conquering the fear people had, ... we get this. I am angry and I don't like it.”

        Maybe it is not quite that bad. At least the spirit of cleaning up the neighborhood remains.
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        The Zion Temple First Pentecostal Church Youth Department will conduct a street meeting and church service on Burnet Avenue, from 1 to 4 p.m. today. .

        “The purpose of this service is to reach out to the youth in the streets,” said Elder Ricardo Smith. He said the service will be conducted by young people, ages 12 to 35.

        Ronald Evans serves as president of the youth group and Ronnell Spears is vice president.
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        DEER PARK — The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments will make a presentation at 7 p.m. Monday of the proposed light rail which would run through the city.

        The meeting will be held at the Community Building, 7640 Plainfield Road.
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        SILVERTON — The Rev. Sherman Buttram, pastor of the First Baptist Church in West College Hill, will return to one of his training grounds Sunday.

        He will be the guest speaker at a missionary anniversary service, at 3:30 p.m. at the Olivet Baptist Church where he served as an associate pastor.

       Allen Howard's column runs on Saturdays. Call: 768-8362. Mail: The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.

       



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