Story by Jennifer O’Connor
A slew of questions on a variety of topics were asked by residents to Warwick Police Officers at the “Coffee With a Cop” event on Thurs., Sept. 29 at the Wickham Woodland Manor in Warwick. The topics ranged from the heroin epidemic to rumors of Ninjas burglarizing businesses in Town as well as concerns of a possible attack at Applefest.
The Warwick Police Benevolent Association (PBA) sponsored the event. ABDDCapital, LLC, the owner of the Dunkin Donuts in Warwick, generously donated coffee and doughnuts. The always very supportive Bruderhof’s Bellvale Community donated trays of delicious cookies.
“I want to commend Chief Tom McGovern, his staff and the men and women of the Warwick PBA for continuing to strengthening ties between our community and the police. This is critical if we are to continue to maintain a safe and secure Town for all of us,” said Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton who attended the event.
Maintaining safety and keeping open communication is of significant importance to the Warwick Police Department which is the main reason they held their fourth “Coffee with a Cop.” On hand to answer questions was Chief of Police Tom McGovern, Lt. Thomas Maslanka, Lt. John Rader, Warwick PBA President Sgt. Ed Mullins, Sgt. James Barnett, Detective Shawn Tetzlaff, Officer Amie McGrady and Officer Sean Beattie.
A majority of the questions were asked by the administrators of the Warwick, NY Parents Facebook Group. Many members of this group emailed questions to the administrators – Kerri Fenton Foley, Nicole McCormick, Kristin Meola, Megan Cárdenas and Josephine Costanza. Also attending the event was Amanda Melvin and Dan Chisholm, the administrators of “You Know You’re From Warwick, NY When…”
The administrators of both groups monitor the Facebook page in an effort to keep the tone non-controversial and friendly. They try to make sure that those joining the group are not scammers or spammers and that posts remain positive. In addition, they ask that people refrain bashing others and businesses as well as from advertising on the site. Posts deemed inappropriate are removed.
Did Ninjas Burglarize Businesses? Is Applefest a Target of an Attack?
In reference to rumors posted on the Warwick NY, Parents Group, the administrators try to address the rumors as best as possible. One such rumor posted recently was that men dressed as Ninjas burglarized homes and businesses in Town. Warwick Police said that the Bellvale Creamery, Ochs Orchard and Larry’s Deli were burglarized during the summer while the businesses were closed, but not by Ninjas – that part of the story is not true.
Another concern that surfaced on social media after the recent bombings in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and at Seaside Heights, NJ, was that Applefest would become a target. The Police have no reason to believe that a terrorist organization would target Applefest. The Police say it is important to stay alert and if anyone notices anything unusual they should tell a Police Officer at the event or call the Police Department.
Heroin & Opiate Epidemic
On behalf of a member of her group, Nicole McCormick asked the Police, “How is the heroin epidemic affecting our kids and what advice do you have for Parents?”
Lt. John Rader responded that globally it’s becoming a problem and it’s not just a heroin epidemic, it’s an opiate epidemic. No matter what age or background someone comes from the opiate and heroin epidemic does not discriminate. The drug has taken a hold of people of all ages and ethnicities.
As to what advice to give parents, Lt. Rader said that it’s important for parents to be in constant communication with their children. Parents should be honest with their children about the affects of drugs and they should be aware that when their children seek medical attention that they stay on top of what they are prescribed.
“Families should treat opiates in their home with the same level of security as a firearm in their home,” said Warwick PBA President Sgt. Ed Mullins. “You wouldn’t want to have your children, or their friends, get a hold of a firearm. The same measure of security should be used with prescription drugs. It’s important to keep prescription medicines in a safe place where children or anyone else cannot get access to it.”
To help residents to properly dispose of unwanted medications, a Drug Collection Unit is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week inside the lobby of the Warwick Police Dept., located at 132 Kings Hwy. With no questions asked, residents can dispose of acceptable items such as prescription patches, medications and ointments as well as over-the-counter medications, vitamins, sample medications and medications for pets.
“So far this year we disposed of 400 pounds of medications – 300 pounds of which came from the Drug Collection Unit that was installed last April in partnership with the Warwick Valley Coalition. We are trying to attack the issue from every side with enforcement, prevention and treatment,” said Lt. John Rader.
The Drug Collection Unit is one of the many steps the Warwick PD is taking to combat the issue. Some of the other steps include undercover Police Officers monitoring drug activities and having Officers carry Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan, to reverse an opiate overdose. The Warwick Police Department also continues to work with the Warwick Valley Coalition and has a School Resource Officer in the Warwick High School.
For Domestic Violence & Other Concerns Call the Police
Among the many other topics discussed at the event were traffic concerns and domestic violence. Officer Amie McGrady, the Domestic Violence Trainer, said the Police Department has information on how people can get assistance. In the event of an incident the Police will help people make arrangements if someone feels they need to be removed from their home. For those who need housing assistance they can call 211. If residents have any concerns whether it’s a rumor or other questions they should call the Warwick Police Department directly at 986-5000.