First town hall on police relationship with Crown Heights

Community locale: The Bethany United Methodist Church is hosting a town hall with police officers at the church on Nov. 10, to addresss the relationship of the police department and residents of Crown Heights.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

Members of Bethany United Methodist Church are introducing their first town hall at their church on their community relationship with the police in Crown Heights on Nov. 10.

Organizers from the church are gathering community members and local officers from the 77th precinct for “Working Together for a Better Crown Heights,” a discussion about their neighborhood and improving how residents and authority figures work and communicate together for their safety of their community. One organizer urges residents that the police’s presence at the town hall should encourage them to partake in it.

“The police is there to listen and help the community,” said Mayleen Fredericks, chairperson of the committee organizing the meeting.

“It’s a dialogue that needs to happen and everyone with concerns will needs to address that.”

During the summer members of the congregation trekked the neighborhood taking a survey of people on the streets. They compiled data on residents views with three questions — what makes them glad, excited, and mad about their community and decided on a town hall based on their conclusions.

“All of those that we surveyed — we found a common theme,” said Fredericks. “They talked about being forced out with rent and housing and their relationship with community and police, and we asked ‘what is it as a church that we can do?’”

Fredericks is expecting 200 participants to attend the meeting, which will be the first of its kind for the neighborhood. Police officers from the 77th precinct will oversee the town hall, and organizers encourage residents to not shy away but use the opportunity to tackle their concerns, including crime and gentrification.

“This is basically about the relationship between the community and the police, but if someone comes in and they might have problem with drug activity on their block and feel like they are not seeing enough police — the police will be there to answer,” said Fredericks.

“The police is there to listen and help the community, and it’s a dialogue that needs to happen. Everyone’s concern will be addressed.”

“Working Together for a Better Crown Heights” at Bethany United Methodist Church [1208 St. Johns Place between Albany and Troy avenues in Crown Heights, (718) 774-5689]. Nov. 10, 6:30 pm.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]
Organizers of the town hall hope to encourage a dialogue about policing in their community.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

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