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Community Involvement and Politics As Usual

TEAM WILLIAMSPORT. I’m sure you have all heard of them by now. How could such a positive idea for taking the streets of Williamsport back from the heroin dealers and problems that follow them, create so much controversy? “Heroin houses”, unsafe neighborhoods and a spike in related criminal activity, it’s time to fight or time for flight and I am proud of the stance the Billtown community took in support of the Williamsport Police Department and City Hall.

TEAM WILLIAMSPRT’s the idea of Assistant Chief Tim Miller, to get the community involved in the fight against heroin and taking pride in their neighborhood. I have stated before the social problem of heroin is a much greater issue than can be solved by law enforcement. Heroin is America’s Problem and it will take the eyes, ears and willingness of the American citizens to get involved to solve this epidemic.

TEAM WILLIAMSPORT’s purpose is informing fellow citizens of the various troubles that face their community. To create a diverse group of people committed to finding a long lasting solution by the offering of their time, insight and perspectives. It is through the efforts of City Hall, the Williamsport Police Department and the loyal citizens to unite in an effort to improve the quality of life while building stronger relationships with each other to make Williamsport a better place.

Sounds like Assistant Chief Miller has a plan! Who better to help clean up neighborhoods than those who have a vested interest and know where the problems are. I can also tell you Mr. Miller has been seen throwing batting practice at The Center, and providing water during summer basketball games at Flanigan Park. He truly loves the people of the city and wants to make a difference especially for the children.

TEAM WILLIAMSPORT is ever growing and actually took to the streets a week or so ago. The rental property ordinance that you heard so much about is being enforced. Tip of the cap to Joe Girardi, City Codes Enforcement. You cannot allow the criminal element to have an unlimited number of folks in and out of these properties and the drug culture to go unchecked.

TEAM WILLIAMSPORT led by Mayor Gabriel Campana, Police Chief Greg Foresman, Assistant Chief Miller and Mr. Giradi made a statement evicting people at two drug related apartments. I applaud their efforts. What a statement this sends to the unwanted criminal infestation. Get the heck out of our town, we stand united.

Now this is where it gets ridiculous. The good folks involved and spending their time to fight the problem are getting a finger pointed at them and told they are a problem. Are you kidding me? City Council President Bill Hall’s accusations of children being put in harms way along with some other concerns. I personally know all the men involved, as does Mr. Hall, they would never put a child in harms way. But, I’ll defer this to my editor, Steph Nordstrom who was present at the evictions. (Story Page 4)

Mr. Hall if you are truly concerned about your city, maybe you should have been present. It is truly bad leadership to criticize those taking actions without knowing the facts. If you had any questions about TEAM WILLIAMSPORT you should have addressed them directly to the leaders of the group, not through media.

Mr. Hall seems to have a track record of criticizing the police department and the Mayor. I can tell you one thing; the leadership of the city of Williamsport is about public safety, and making Williamsport a better place. Are mistakes ever made? Absolutely. Mayor Campana and our Police Department are out there every day putting it on the line. They are doing it for all the right reasons. As my father would tell me after one of my blunders, “Son the only person that does not make a mistake is the one not doing anything. Learn from it”. Maybe Mr. Hall should become part of the group working for solutions or is it possible he has a hidden agenda?

Team Williamsport will continue to grow and make a difference with your support. Do not get caught up in the political rhetoric of a few. In speaking with the Mayor, he expressed his pride in the efforts to date and defines “Team Williamsport as a community policing tool,” he said. “It is an opportunity to engage citizens in democratic principles. I appreciate the general public’s willingness to help us decrease crime. As a community outreach, I also appreciate members of the community affairs group from the Lycoming County Heroin Task Force for their assistance as all of us work together to attach heroin and prescription drug abuse”.

Sounds to me the good people of Williamsport, Mayor Campana, and the folks in blue are on the right track. Good luck and God Bless.

Jim Webb

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