Saturday, October 26, 2013

‘Monsters in the Park’ event is village’s treat for Halloween - But the Council must support our police to maintian safe streets for everyone

‘Monsters in the Park’ event is village’s treat for Halloween | Palmetto Bay
Say it ain't so! The mayor and council cannot allow neighborhood safety to end, but it looks like 2013 will be the year that the Pumpkin Patrol ends. We were close last year, but there was a last-minute reprieve thanks to then councilman Howard Tendrich, see: Pumpkin Patrol Update - public concern results in action.

I raise the concern again this year because it is stated by a village official that there will be a "replacement" (as opposed to "additional thereto") to the Pumpkin Patrol.  And although I welcome the ‘Monster in the Park’ event, it should be viewed as an additional event, not one that replaces neighborhood traditions.  See: ‘Monsters in the Park’ event is village’s treat for Halloween. 

We cannot cancel the annual added police protection.  Halloween in the neighborhoods will happen and we need to maintain safe streets for both the participants and homeowners.  Palmetto Bay residents have our long standing tradition of individual and neighborhood/block party celebrations going on Halloween night (a school night, Thursday, this year) as well as the parties held weekends that pre-and post-date October 31.

I am perplexed.  Mary S. Fernandez, the village’s special events supervisor, is mentioned as promoting this  "Monsters in the Park" event as “a safe and fun alternative to traditional trick-or-treating with a movie showing.”  This same article clearly advises us, the members of the public, that this event is in fact "... a replacement for the 'Pumpkin Patrol' done in previous years because it was difficult to get to all areas of the village in a timely fashion." (emphasis added). But what if some unintended "monsters" decide to make an unwelcome appearance in our quiet little community,i.e. Halloween evening vandalism or other nasty tricks?

And just who had difficulty getting to all areas of the village in a timely fashion?  Certainly not the police.  I guess it is too hard for the current elected officials to support the traditional events and reach out to everyone, so are they instead bringing the photo op to the village officials and partners, who are scheduled per Ms. Fernandez to be distributing candies and stickers for all trick-or-treaters at the park.

The Pumpkin Patrol is not a photo op, but it apparently has been viewed by the current administration solely as one.  The Pumpkin Patrol was an initiative I first supported with our Village Policing Unit which has a simple idea: Palmetto Bay would have 3 times the normal police on duty to participate; cruising the neighborhoods, making frequent stops along the way to hand out candy and safety glow sticks for our youngsters.  The Pumpkin Patrol has certainly assisted in fewer tricks and more treats in Palmetto Bay. 

I say be safe and have fun this Halloween. There is room both for the police to perform their Pumpkin Patrol and have an outstanding Halloween Village event at the park. But there should be no room, nor tolerance, for sacrificing safety for those who choose to continue to participate in Halloween in their traditional manner.  I trust that Our Village Police Commander, Major Greg Truitt will not let our Palmetto Bay residents and neighborhoods go it on their own this year without the added police.  Major Truitt: There is still time to schedule and assign a 2013 Pumpkin Patrol.  After all, it should be about safety, not photo ops.

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