Local residents were introduced to Capt. Daniel O’Connor, the new commanding officer of the 24th Police District, at a town hall meeting last Tuesday, Feb. 18.
O’Connor, a 24-year veteran of the Philadelphia police force, addressed an audience of about 50 people who came out to welcome him and voice their concerns about the neighborhood.
O’Connor offered tips on how to prevent crime in the area.
In one of his opening statements, O’Connor said that in the past week, 10 cars were stolen. Four of those vehicles, he said, had been left running. He advised people to be vigilant and leave their cars locked even if they were running into their house for a few minutes.
“Everyone drove here, so everyone has a car,” O’Connor said in an interview following the meeting. “I thought that would be a good way to relate to everyone in the audience.”
Crime prevention is at the top of O’Connor’s priority list, he said.
He hopes to educate the general public on how to reduce the amount of violent crime in the area.
“Even if it’s something as simple as putting an informative flier in a store window, it’s out there.”
Community members were excited to see what the new captain had in store for the neighborhood.
“I like him,” Vince Andrews, 52, of Juniata Park, said. “He shows a lot of promise.”
Andrews also commented on his ability to connect with and help solve the issues and problems of the community.
“He strikes me as a cop that won’t give you lip service,” he said.
Edna Rojas, of Lower Kensington, who attended the meeting with her son, Malachi Solomon, also expressed an optimistic reaction to the new captain.
“I think he had a lot of good ideas to prevent crime,” Rojas said. “He can help people to not be afraid anymore.”
O’Connor was promoted to the rank of captain on Jan. 31.
His job will include an array of duties, ranging from overseeing employees and coming up with crime fighting strategies to administrative duties and training.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said O’Connor, who grew up in Southwest Philadelphia and now resides in Roxborough with his wife and four children.
Also in attendance was state Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.), who commended the new captain and wished him well.
“We are certainly glad to have him,” Taylor said. “We can’t survive without him.”
O’Connor has had a diverse background in law enforcement before landing his current title.
He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command and Pennsylvania State University’s Police Supervisory In-Service Training and Police Executive Leadership programs.
Since joining the force in 1990, O’Connor served in roles ranging from highway patrol sergeant to lieutenant in the 9th District.
O’Connor expressed a willingness to work directly with neighbors to prevent violent crime.
“I’m not the kind of guy who sits behind a desk and moves pawns,” he said. “I don’t want people living in fear.”
The next town hall meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18, at 6 p.m. at the 24th District, located at 3901 Whitaker Ave. ••