• 66°

Positive community engagement

It has been encouraging to see authorities engaging with the community, and vice versa, in intentional and especially positive ways recently.

On Thursday, Aug. 1, Farmville Police Department (FPD) partnered with sweetFrog, a yogurt shop located on Midtown Avenue, for an event called Cool Down with a Cop. The goal of the event was to bring law enforcement and children together to foster a strong and healthy relationship between the two.

Bridget Viscel, operations manager of the Farmville sweetFrog location, said her goal for the event was to have sweetFrog embrace the officers and to help children feel comfortable with them by letting children see a different side of them.

“I want (children) to know that cops are good,” she said. “It’s fun. ‘Look, they’re having fun. They’re playing games. They’re doing fun stuff.’ They brought McGruff (the Crime Dog) to teach them not to do drugs. He’s taking a bite out of crime. … I think we can help bring the kids closer to cops.”

FPD Chief A.Q. “Andy” Ellington shared Viscel’s goal.

“We’re always willing to reach out to the kids and want to do something special for our community,” he said, later describing the Cool Down with a Cop event as “just another effort to get out and reach the public, one way or another.”

Another effort in that regard came this week with National Night Out (NNO) held Tuesday evening. As cited in an FPD press release, “National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug-prevention awareness, develop and strengthen partnerships between police and residents and generate support for anti-crime programs such as Neighborhood Watch, Crime Solvers and Business Watch.”

Among the block parties held in Farmville in celebration of NNO was a major one at Parkview Gardens Apartments that drew a large crowd.

It is our hope that the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 13, will include another example of positive community engagement in Prince Edward. Two public hearings held by the county’s Board of Supervisors will take place in the Board of Supervisors’ Meeting Room on the third floor of the Prince Edward County Courthouse Annex at 111 N. South St. in Farmville. The public hearings will start at 7:30 p.m.

One public hearing, as described in the county advertisement, will be on the proposed ordinance establishing the Prince Edward County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) District and enabling the Board of Supervisors to consider a district levy, as provided for in Section 32.1-111.14:2 of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended.

The other public hearing, as described in the county advertisement, will be on the proposed 2019 EMS district levies per $100 of assessed valuation: 1 cent for real estate and 10 cents for tangible personal property.

There will surely be citizens and supervisors with strong opinions on either side of these issues, and we hope they will present their points in the most effective way possible — with civility, coolheadedness and sound research.