A new row of daisies along the granite building of the Newhallville police substation will not only offer a pop of color to Winchester Avenue but also serve as a symbol of growing engagement between the cops and community members.
A crew of eight — officers, community members and staff from the Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS)— shoveled mulch and planted flowers around the Winchester Avenue substation Friday afternoon. During the brief respites, the officers and volunteers joked, ate pizza and conversed to the tune of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
It was the latest effort by the neighborhood’s top cop, Sgt. Shafiq Abdussabur, and his officers to find new ways to build ties with neighbors in a part of town where the relationship has sometimes been tense. Other recent events have included candy giveaway to kids and, in another part of the policing district, and a “cops and coffee” event. LINKS
“Planting flowers in front of the substation is such a holistic concept,” Sgt. Abdussabur said. “The area needs attention, and the community landscape is going to improve and our officers are doing non-traditional community work.”
Adam Rawlings, community building specialist for the Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), a not-for-profit that has renovated houses throughout the neighborhood and sold them to first-time homebuyers, said small beautifying projects such as this can go a long way toward improving the image of the area.
“We can do a little to make the substation look more welcoming and that can go a long way toward building community relationships,” Rawlings said.
“When I look at this area, this is my second home,” Abdussabur said. “Why don’t we make it a reflection of our home. This is our way of saying that we are taking ownership of the place.”