WMPD’s outreach effort an opportunity for real impact
While there are some West Memphis politicians, or should we say at least one with political aspirations to be mayor, spouting off the call for community involvement in addressing the city’s gang killings and drug issues, there is the city’s police department, let’s say, putting its money where its mouths is, by actually doing just that.
We applaud Police Chief Donald Oakes, Capt. Joe Baker and other police leadership for being intuitive enough to establish what they call the community approach or outreach and putting together a comprehensive formula that puts the entire police department in fine tune with the citizens they are charged to serve and protect.
Heading up this coordinated effort is an aggressive and highly charged young woman by the name of Tawana Bailey, who has been given the title as WMPD Community Outreach coordinator who, in the short time on the job, has already made a major impact on community relations.
A good amount of publicity has been given to Bailey’s efforts as the department’s friendly face in the local neighborhoods and events, such as special events involving police officers at several West Memphis schools and their interaction with students. But, as those individuals behind this commendable endeavor have said, this is just part of the overall formula aimed at showing every West Memphis resident our police officers and employees are our friends, our neighbors and our families.
As Bailey has pointed out, setting up special programs at the local schools is just the beginning of what is to come and one of the main goals is to bring together nonprofit organizations, government agencies, churches, and fraternal organizations and establishing a common goal.
Baileys convincing ways has also gotten officers to willingly participate in food giveaways to the single mothers, families and children on fixed income and even gotten officers to serve snow cones and interact with the community during the recent and popular River Fest.
We were particularly impressed with one of Bailey’s initiatives that had police officers take children from Steudlein on a shopping spree during Christmas, an event that drew enormous praise.
Interacting with the very young people of West Memphis is an initial step in addressing the issues of juvenile delinquency and the lack of adult supervision and interaction.
On a more serious note in reaching the young people in West Memphis susceptible to criminal behavior and gang related crime and gun violence, police officers are going to West Junior High as well as West Memphis High School and seriously interacting with students and having one-one conversations with them in hopes of making a positive impact on them.
Let us point out to Mr. Mayorial Candidate and current councilman that this is how it is being done right under your very nose. We just wonder, longtime Councilman Marco McClendon, why after all the years you have been on the city council, it is just now that you call for “Community Involvement” when it is obvious you have done nothing to address the gang violence, gun violence, and crime issues within your very own neighborhood.
This flimsy and plastic political rhetoric beginning to crank up during this political silly season is laughable to say the least and the comedian at center stage is writing the skit.