|By Chloe Johnson|
SPRINGFIELD On April 5, Springfield's new Police Commissioner, Edward A. Flynn, made his first stop in a series of visits to community policing sectors in the city.
Flynn told Sector H (Forest Park/ E. Forest Park) residents, who gathered at Sinai Temple on Dickinson Street, that he'd do his best in "getting crime down, fear down, and the for-sale signs down."
"It's a cooperation between both of us, the neighborhood and the police," Flynn said. "When we lose people who are connected, we first lose the neighborhoods, then entire cities. It is essential that the people of the community and the police work together."
According to Flynn, his plans for community policing involve building upon the current structure, such as keeping and maintaining "neighborhood boundaries" and having the same familiar community police officers in the same sectors.
"My goal is to build on the skeleton that we already have," he said. "Our challenge is to do something with the resources that we already have -- and turn this around pretty quickly."
Flynn also told residents that things can get better and not to be discouraged.
"There are other places that are worse off, but unlike those places, we have something to build upon. You're here now and you have police who are going to work hard and who are committed to neighborhood response," he said.
After addressing the residents for about an hour about his plans for community policing, Flynn opened the floor to any questions or concerns residents had -- ranging from cabs blowing their horns to a woman being followed home.
Susan Poole, a community activist, distributed flyers that outlined several points concerning the residents of Forest Park, such as loud noise and noise from cars and car stereos.
Flynn acknowledged that noise is a problem for the overall quality of life but that it is not an easy problem to solve.
In response, Poole asked whether or not noise offenders could be ticketed under the Massachusetts state motor vehicle law (Chapter 90-16 Harsh and Objectionable) in conjunction with Springfield's ordinance for non-motor vehicle noise offenses.
"We're going to make every effort to deal with problems respectfully," Flynn said. "We have to see other approaches and prioritize -- and that's a challenge we have."