Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan conveyed a simple, strong message to his neighbors during the monthly meeting of the Parkwood Civic Association on Oct. 19: call 911.
Sullivan, a Parkwood native and resident, is in charge of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Homeland Security Bureau. That’s the branch of the police force that investigates terrorism threats, protects visiting dignitaries, deploys the SWAT team and manages many other specialty units.
Sullivan said that the city’s first line of defense against terrorism is often its residents, people who see something suspicious and report it.
The police department and its civilian partners such as the Police Radio Advisory Board have invested much time and effort trying to educate the public about the proper use of 911 in an effort to reduce the burden of non-emergency calls on the system. Citizens can dial 311 to reach City Hall for public service complaints or questions. Alternately, they can dial 215–686-TIPS or text message to “PPD TIP” to report information about a fugitive or an unsolved crime.
But when in doubt about a public safety concern, citizens should still dial 911, Sullivan said. Officers assigned to Homeland Security are on duty around the clock.
In other Parkwood Civic Association business:
• The two candidates for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 170th district met face-to-face again as incumbent Republican Martina White and Democrat challenger Matt Darragh each delivered stump speeches to dozens of residents in attendance. The candidates each addressed the Somerton Civic Association on Oct. 11.
White touted the House’s recent passage of her anti-sanctuary city bill. The legislation would expose sanctuary cities including Philadelphia to financial liability for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. White also said that her bill to protect the identities of police officers involved in on-duty shooting had been passed out of a state Senate committee. She was hopeful that the full Senate would pass it before the end of the legislative session.
Darragh criticized White’s campaign for placing negative advertisements. One particular ad, he said, used references to Kermit Gosnell to criticize Darragh’s pro-choice stance on abortion. Gosnell is the former abortion doctor who was convicted of murdering babies who were born alive. Darragh condemned Gosnell’s crimes and called him a “butcher.”
Darragh said his primary focus is to preserve the Parkwood that he knew when he was growing up there, a neighborhood now threatened by dilapidated properties, drug activity and quality-of-life nuisances.
• Brian Heath of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said that administration of Benjamin Rush State Park has been moved from a park in Fort Washington to Neshaminy State Park in nearby Lower Bucks County.
Heath is the new park manager for both sites. His office is at 3401 State Road in Bensalem. His phone number is 215–639–4538.
• Parkwood Civic President Marge Philippi said that after multiple requests the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation mowed overgrown weeds along Woodhaven Road.
Also, Philippi said she has reported many instances of graffiti on signs, utility poles, manhole covers and other surfaces in the neighborhood. She’s hoping that someone will see the vandal in the act and report him to police. ••