Behind the scenes

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It’s easy to see what local law enforcement is up to when officers are riding around in official vehicles, wearing their uniforms. But a lot more is happening behind the scenes in ways that are paving the way to bridge the divide between the police and the community.

That’s what the Beaufort County Police Activities League is about: narrowing the gap. And lately, they’ve been reaching out to make it happen. Two weeks ago, Washington Police-Fire Department Director Stacy Drakeford and PAL President Al Powell spoke to a crowd at a Washington Housing Authority tenant meeting, laying out plans to help make neighborhoods safer with community-based policing practices and encouraging young people to attend PAL’s upcoming after school and summer programs. Powell, a retired supervisory special agent and form FBI chief of a counterterrorism unit, later met with the WHA advisory board to speak about the need to be proactive about the evolving threats that face housing authority communities on a national level.

PAL quickly filled the all the spots in two, 2-week long courses featuring swimming, boating safety, technology and sailing in partnership with the Little Washington Sailing School. Money for the program came via a community effort of PAL, Little Washington Sailing School and Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. In the works is a free 2-week overnight summer camp for 30 middle school kids at the Camp Boddie Boy Scouts of America Regional complex that will include science, technology, engineering and math-based activities during the first week and adventures on the water, natural sciences, and in the environment the second week. There’s already a standby list 30 strong.

Behind the scenes, there’s much being done to improve our community with a partnership that unites law enforcement, volunteers, residents and, most important, the children who live and can potentially thrive here.