Though it already has an active civic, CDC and business association, Mayfair can add one more community group to its name: Mayfair Town Watch.
The group held its first official meeting last night to nominate and appoint board members, bounce around ideas and share personal experiences.
Town watch is about more than just patrolling, new president John Vearling said. In that sense, Vearling encouraged officers and members to get involved in every way they can – from telling friends, to sharing resources and making phone calls. “I’d like to see every person in this room grab two friends,” Vearling told members about how he’d like to spread the word about the newly formed organization.
The Major Players
Meet the board members and officers of Mayfair Town Watch:
President John Vearling
Vice President Len Roberts
Treasurer Shawn Hagerty
Scheduler Pete Smith
Recording Secretary Lori Giancaterino
Chris Vogler, Republican leader of the 55th Ward
Denies Myers, Democratic committee person for the 55th Ward
Joe De Felice, president of Mayfair Civic Association
Brian Patrick King, head of Mayfair CDC
Also important, Vearling mentioned, is to have block captains. It’s the active residents, everyone agreed, who can be relied upon to coordinate events and gatherings and act as liaisons between residents and the police.
Lt. Martin Bugieda from the 15th District, and Chad Enos, who works with Town Watch Integrated Services, were also at the meeting to explain their roles to residents and provide guidance for getting the organization off the ground.
“We appreciate the small things you can do to help us,” Bugieda said. “You’re the eyes and ears.” Enos, who helps train and organize town watch organizations across the Northeast, added that the purpose of town watch volunteers is to alert the police to ongoing situations, not to pursue people or put themselves in danger. Part of keeping safe, Enos said, is ensuring that those patrolling the neighborhood are never in a car by themselves.
“One stipulation,” Vearling said firmly. “This is not a bitch-fest.” He went on to explain: “If you have a problem, come with a solution.”
The first step toward those solutions is to promote the town watch using ideas suggested by the group’s members. Plans include:
- working closely with the other neighborhood groups
- building a relationship with the 15th District
- circulating fliers
- distributing hand-outs through schools
- hosting events
For a while, the group will meet every week on Wednesdays (time and place to be determined) to flesh out plans, get better acquainted and put its thoughts into action. The biggest goal for the next meeting is to have more members. Vearling gave the crowd his cell phone number, and encourages anyone who is interested to call him and get involved and become part of the solution, because, he said, “solution-oriented people get things done.”
To get involved: Call John Vearling at 215-758-6396. The group is looking for general volunteers, recruiters and any person or business willing to offer small donations.