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Van Nuys | Valley Focus

LAPD Chief to Hold Community Meeting

September 23, 1997|DADE HAYES

New LAPD Chief Bernard Parks will visit the San Fernando Valley on Thursday to take part in the fourth annual Crime Awareness event, a town hall meeting that seeks to draw attention to issues including community-based policing, drugs, gangs and traffic problems.

A car damaged in the North Hollywood bank shootout in February will be on display, and booths will offer information about police units such as SWAT, K-9, bomb squad, bicycle detail, LAPD history and recruitment.

Community groups including the Mid Valley Jeopardy Foundation, Project Amigo, Mid Valley Graffiti Busters and the Mid Valley Chamber of Commerce will be spotlighted.

Van Nuys Senior Lead Officer Mark Kelly, one of the organizers of Crime Awareness IV, said planned question-and-answer sessions will give Parks a proper introduction to the community and vice versa.

"It gives the public a chance to meet the new chief and see how he sees the community benefiting from his changes," Kelly said. "It's a perfect opportunity for him to say, 'This is what I did and why.' "

Added Kelly: "I imagine he'll be bombarded by a lot of stuff."

Police heard some negative comments about the amount of time accorded to politicians and police officials at last year's event, Kelly said. This year, organizers hope to give more time to residents and police officers on the front lines of the fight against crime.

"The key to public safety is our ability to form stronger partnerships," said Richard Wemmer, commanding officer of the Van Nuys police station. "When we are able to meet and exchange information, we can more effectively identify priorities and develop strategies consistent with community government."

People living, visiting or working in Panorama City, Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys are invited to Thursday's event, which will be held at Church on the Way, 14800 Sherman Way, Van Nuys. It begins at 6 p.m. with refreshments.

For more information, call (818) 756-9485.

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