East Mt. Airy residents plan to let 14th Police District Capt. Joel Dales know they’re not happy with his decison to re-locate the neighborhood’s bike officers to Germantown.
During an East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN) meeting Tuesday night, long-time Mt. Airy resident Vernon Price said that two bike cops were removed within the last two weeks and sent to patrol in Germantown.
Price, who is also director of Community Outreach and Government Relations with the District Attorney’s Office, said the officers were re-located to the area around Pomona and Duval streets and another around Wister and Germantown avenues, the sites of two recent murders.
“This assignment may not be temporary, but may be a long-term assignment,” said Price, noting that he only learned about the move after a recent attack on the 100 block of West Durham Street.
On Feb. 21, two men approached Mt. Airy resident Huntly Collins from behind and repeatedly punched her in the back and head, knocking her to the ground. Collins, an associate professor at LaSalle University, was on her way home from the gym at around 6:45 p.m. when the assailants struck.
Price said he worries that not having the bike officers will open up the community to more crime. He suggested that EMAN and others draft letters voicing their concerns.
“We need to reach out to him formally and say ‘Listen. We want our bike officers back.’ We can’t just allow this to happen,” said Price. “We fought so hard to get the bike officers in the first place.”
Board members agreed that Dales needs to know their displeasure.
“That does irritate me,” said David Bell. “Especially in light of what I thought was a good community meeting back in January.”
Dales and a host of law enforcement officials met with both East and West Mt. Airy residents on Jan. 11 following a rash of burglaries in the area.
EMAN Executive Director Elayne Bender said she would invite Dales to the board’s next meeting to discuss the situation.
“He’s a very reasonable guy, “said Bender. ” He’s got pressure and stress too, so we don’t want to assault him, but we want our bike patrols back.”
Dales was not immediately available for comment.