There will be no more free lunches in the 7th Police District Advisory Council. From now on, there’s going to be a little bit of work involved. Chairman Mike Myers delivered that message to 7th PDAC members during the group’s meeting on Feb. 20 at CORA Services.
For years, the 7th PDAC has hosted monthly lunch meetings when leaders of various community groups usually discuss crime-related issues affecting the neighborhoods in the district. The district covers Somerton, Bustleton, parts of Rhawnhurst and Fox Chase, along with other areas.
But the social component of the sessions will be changing a bit with the Citywide PDAC’s recent drafting of new bylaws, Myers explained. The Citywide group in partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department oversees localized PDACs based in the city’s 21 police districts. Collectively, their mission is to enhance collaboration between police and the general public.
Informally, PDAC members are expected to take note of information discussed at the monthly meetings and to disseminate that information among local civic associations, schools, businesses and organizations. Some members spread the word better than others.
Under the new regulations, every member will be required to maintain an active role in PDAC programs. The bylaws have yet to be ratified or made public, according to Myers.
“At the end of the (meeting) season, the members who do not participate will be terminated,” Myers said.
The “season” runs from fall through the spring. The PDAC does not meet in the summer. Its meetings are not public. Prospective members must represent another community-based group and must be approved by the PDAC. Guests may attend meetings, but must be registered in advance.
Myers outlined a new list of committee assignments that will allow PDAC members to fulfill their participation obligation. There will be an executive committee as well as committees for fundraising, publicity, membership recruitment, police relations, guest speakers/meeting locations and programs development.
In other PDAC business:
• Capt. Joe Zaffino has been the commander of the 7th district for almost seven years, but he attended his final PDAC meeting. Zaffino left the police force on Feb. 28 in advance of his formal retirement later this year.
Zaffino presented his final Officer of the Month award to the district’s longtime Community Relations Officer Rich Simon. The captain cited Simon’s body of work over many years as justification for the award. Simon has coordinated canned food drives, parties for disabled children and many other community events, often on his own time. He regularly attends civic association meetings throughout the district, as well as the monthly captain’s meetings and PSA meetings, which always occur at night.
Simon sometimes organizes emergency community meetings to address pressing topics. He is also the district’s point person on the annual National Night Out.
Zaffino also had kind parting words for the PDAC.
“Every time I hear Deputy Commissioner (Kevin) Bethel talk, he talks about what a strong PDAC you are,” Zaffino said. “So my hat’s off to you. Keep doing what you’re doing.” ••