Golf game supports local cops

The Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment 24th Dis­trict PDAC held its first an­nu­al golf out­ing last week, rais­ing funds that will go to sup­port law en­force­ment in Port Rich­mond, Kens­ing­ton, Ju­ni­ata and Har­rowg­ate.

Swings for sup­port: Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment 24th Dis­trict Capt. Charles Vo­gt (fourth from right), PDAC chair Pat Healey (third from right), and sev­er­al of­ficers from the 24th dis­trict stand be­fore the Ju­ni­ata Golf Club’s fire­fight­ers and po­lice me­mori­al plaque dur­ing the PDAC’s first an­nu­al golf out­ing. SAM NE­W­HOUSE / STAR PHOTO

The 24th Dis­trict of the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment has a ded­ic­ated group of vo­lun­teers in­volved in its Po­lice Dis­trict Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil. 

Last week, the 24th Dis­trict’s PDAC held its first an­nu­al golf out­ing to raise funds to sup­port the dis­trict and sup­port fu­ture com­munity events. 

“Some of the fund­ing raised today will go to­wards com­munity events, and some will goes to­wards get­ting a third dirt bike,” said Capt. Charles Vo­gt after tak­ing a few whacks at the Ju­ni­ata Golf Club dur­ing the out­ing.

The PDAC helped raise a $14,000 grant from loc­al busi­nesses in Janu­ary 2013 that paid for two Su­zuki dirt bikes for the dis­trict, which have been used for tar­get­ing crim­in­al activ­ity in parks, on train tracks, and in oth­er places where nor­mal cars can’t go. They’ve been so suc­cess­ful that the dis­trict is seek­ing to get a third bike.

“We’re go­ing to make this golf out­ing an an­nu­al event and pub­li­cize it even more, to make a it a lot big­ger next year,” Capt. Vo­gt pledged.

The turnout at the 24th Dis­trict PDAC’s first golf out­ing was 13 golfers, less than the PDAC had hoped for, but still enough for a good day of golf­ing.

“It’s so great to spend all day play­ing golf … it’s also nice just to have a day off,” said 24th Dis­trict Of­ficer Mi­chael Mitchell, 26, a three-year vet­er­an of the force who par­ti­cip­ated in the out­ing. 

Mitchell had the longest drive of the day last week, launch­ing a golf ball 320-330 yards.

“It’s a great sup­port for the 24th dis­trict,” Of­ficer Mitchell said of the PDAC. “I think the out­ing is a great thing for ca­marader­ie with the po­lice de­part­ment and the cit­izens.”

The golf out­ing was just one of the many ideas cooked up by Pat Healey, chair­man of the 24th dis­trict PDAC, since he took on lead­er­ship of the group a year and a half ago.

“We’re def­in­itely go­ing to do it bet­ter next year, I can already tell,” Healey said.

In ad­di­tion to the PDAC’s tra­di­tion­al pro­grams for the 24th Dis­trict of­ficers, such as a Thanks­giv­ing din­ner for of­ficers on duty dur­ing Thanks­giv­ing, Healey said he’s think­ing about or­gan­iz­ing an es­say com­pet­i­tion for loc­al stu­dents, as well as a job fair. 

Bey­ond the com­munity ser­vice events, Healey said he is fo­cused on help­ing to sup­port the of­ficers of the 24th Dis­trict, which cov­ers the neigh­bor­hoods of Port Rich­mond, Ju­ni­ata, Har­rowg­ate and Kens­ing­ton.

“They’re cer­tainly strapped for man­power, there’s no doubt about that,” Healey said. “They have I be­lieve the second highest rate of calls in the city, and one of the highest hom­icide rates, but they’re way down on man­power.”

Healey has also been in­volved with Port Rich­mond Town Watch for about sev­en years. He be­lieves that when po­lice are un­der­fun­ded, loc­al res­id­ents need to step up with re­port­ing crim­in­al activ­ity.

“We need to get the cit­izens to work more closely with po­lice. We’ve got to be more vi­gil­ant about the po­lice work­ing with us and us work­ing with the po­lice,” he said.

Healey said he’s seen the dif­fer­ence in Port Rich­mond as neigh­bors have be­come more aware of how they can as­sist the po­lice as their “eyes and ears,” by both call­ing 911 and call­ing the dis­trict dir­ectly to re­port sus­pi­cious activ­ity. Sus­pec­ted cen­ters of crim­in­al activ­ity get raided, ar­rests are made, and the neigh­bor­hood is made safer, Healey said. 

Spon­sors for the PDAC and their golf out­ing in­clude the of­fice of State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.), Phil­adelphia Phar­macy, the Can­cer Treat­ment Cen­ters of Amer­ica, Wal­mart and Tar­get. ••

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