Police captain awarded for military service

The Somer­ton Civic As­so­ci­ation and state Rep. Brendan Boyle last week re­cog­nized a neigh­bor­hood mil­it­ary hero who is now back home and serving his fel­low cit­izens on the home front.

Dur­ing the monthly SCA meet­ing on Oct. 8, Boyle presen­ted a House cita­tion to Phil­adelphia Po­lice Capt. Mi­chael P. Cram, who is a Somer­ton res­id­ent and serves as a Mil­it­ary Po­lice cap­tain in the U.S. Army Re­serve. Cram re­cently re­turned from Afgh­anistan, where he com­pleted his fourth over­seas de­ploy­ment.

Cram joined the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment and the Army Re­serve in 1988, Boyle said. He served as a po­lice of­ficer in the 25th dis­trict, a ser­geant in the 14th dis­trict and a lieu­ten­ant in the 15th dis­trict be­fore his March 2009 pro­mo­tion to cap­tain. He has been com­mand­er of the 26th dis­trict since then.

The po­lice de­part­ment al­lows him to re­tain his com­mand dur­ing his mil­it­ary de­ploy­ments. Cram was one of the young­est of­ficers to at­tain the rank of cap­tain in po­lice de­part­ment his­tory.

Of­ficers from the civic group helped Boyle present the cita­tion to Cram, in­clud­ing vice pres­id­ent Seth Ka­plan, treas­urer Pat Can­t­well and re­cord­ing sec­ret­ary Nat­alie Sher­man.

In un­re­lated busi­ness, the civic group ap­proved a res­id­ent’s plan to leg­al­ize an awn­ing on his rear deck. City zon­ing in­spect­ors re­cently cited the own­er of 346 Tom­lin­son Plaza, Mangal Singh, for build­ing the awn­ing without a per­mit. Ac­cord­ing to Ka­plan, “en­closed” decks are not per­mit­ted by the city’s zon­ing code, and the awn­ing con­sti­tutes an en­clos­ure.

The own­er of the prop­erty re­por­ted that he built the awn­ing about six months ago, not real­iz­ing he needed a per­mit. It has a wood frame and plastic shade. The house is a single-fam­ily twin. The own­er said that five of his neigh­bors signed a pe­ti­tion stat­ing they sup­port his ef­fort to get the awn­ing leg­al­ized. His ap­peal will next go in front of the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment. A hear­ing date was not an­nounced.

Danny Al­varez, a Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ate for dis­trict at­tor­ney, asked mem­bers of the SCA to sup­port him in the Nov. 5 elec­tion, when he will face in­cum­bent Demo­crat Seth Wil­li­ams.

Al­varez lives in Somer­ton and is a fath­er of two. He served 8-1/2 years as an as­sist­ant dis­trict at­tor­ney, pro­sec­ut­ing ma­jor crimes, gun vi­ol­ence cases, nar­cot­ics and oth­er types of of­fend­ers. He is now in private prac­tice spe­cial­iz­ing mostly in civil work, with some crim­in­al de­fense work.

Al­varez de­scribed him­self as an al­tern­at­ive to the polit­ic­al es­tab­lish­ment, a cit­izen who be­lieves in “play­ing by the rules,” pay­ing taxes and serving all city res­id­ents, in­clud­ing those in the North­east.

He took a shot at Wil­li­ams, de­scrib­ing the in­cum­bent’s Oct. 9 tour of Lawn­crest busi­nesses as “rub­bish” and “blatant cam­paign­ing,” al­though Wil­li­ams presen­ted the event as his ef­fort to learn more about crime is­sues in the neigh­bor­hood. Boyle joined Wil­li­ams for the tour of Rising Sun Av­en­ue.

Re­gard­ing Somer­ton area crime, Po­lice Of­ficer Rich Si­mon of the 7th dis­trict re­por­ted that there were 53 ma­jor crimes re­por­ted in Po­lice Ser­vice Area 3, which com­prises the north­ern­most third of the dis­trict, dur­ing the 30-day peri­od end­ing on Oct. 8.

Burg­lary seems to be the biggest re­cent prob­lem with 16 cases re­por­ted. Oth­er ma­jor crimes in­clude thefts, ag­grav­ated as­saults, rob­ber­ies and hom­icides.

City Com­mis­sion­er Al Schmidt con­tin­ued his tour of North­east civic as­so­ci­ations to pro­mote his of­fice’s new web­site, www.Phil­adelphiaVotes.com. The site fea­tures com­pre­hens­ive in­form­a­tion for voters, polit­ic­al can­did­ates, cam­paign work­ers and elec­tion board of­fi­cials. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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