‘Foot Patrol’ organizer honored at City-wide neighborhood safety event

Find out why this was the only person from east of the Willamette River who received this award for helping make her neighborhood a safer place …

Outer East Portland Crime Prevention Coordinator Samantha “Sam” Freeman says she’s pleased that Tammi Hawkins is being given the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement “Community Foot Patrol Award”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s Crime Prevention Center, a large group of citizens and police gathered for a ceremony in which ordinary folks were honored for providing exceptional volunteer service to their neighborhoods.

One honoree was Tammi Hawkins, noted for starting the “Mid-County Foot Patrol” – a volunteer public safety group spanning the Hazelwood and Centennial neighborhoods.

“In July of last year at neighborhood meeting, we found we were looking at the same [crime statistical] information that we’ve been looking at for the last five or so years. I thought it was time to ‘take it up a notch’,” Hawkins said, before the July 31 ceremony.

Officials and neighbors gather for the awards ceremony.

“In April, this year, I went around the neighborhood and solicited the neighbors, gave them flyers, and told them what I was up to – starting a Neighborhood Foot Patrol.”

Neighbors told others; “We now, three months later, have 15 volunteers as part of the patrol – and patrol most days, twice a day,” Hawkins smiled.

In addition to providing a visible presence of “eyes on the blocks”, Hawkins told East Portland News, “We’ve gotten the neighbors out of their houses. People actually wave hello to us, and actually run out to meet us. This is good!

Welcoming awardees and well-wishers to the program is City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Program Manager Stephanie Reynolds.

“Little kids think that we are a role model in the neighborhood, which is another important feature,” Hawkins added. “We have a lot of kids in the neighborhood who don’t have a positive role models, and need them. To be able to talk to them, and engage them in conversation, or just play with them for a few minutes in a friendly sort of manner – that’s a big reward for us.”

And now, about year later, Hawkins said, leaders have stepped forward to help manage the program and to recruit others. “It takes a team approach to get this whole thing going. I’m the one getting the award tonight, but I do think that there are a number of people on the Foot Patrol who should share this honor with me.”

Outer East Portland Crime Prevention Coordinator Sam Freeman tells about the Foot Patrol organized by Tammi Hawkins.

Starting the official ceremony, City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Program Manager Stephanie Reynolds told the audience, “These volunteers are recognized for innovative approaches, problem solving, recruitment, and unique organizing skills, and the like. Neighborhood Watch and Foot Patrol are cornerstones of crime prevention in Portland.  We are so pleased for these volunteers.”

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz proclaimed, “Tammi Hawkins is a great example of someone who took ownership of her neighborhood, and did something about it to put together this foot patrol. Kudos!”

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Sam Freeman, and Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Reese, here flank Tammi Hawkins as the award is presented.

After the awards, Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Reese told East Portland News, “Having more eyes and ears in our outer East Portland ‘hot spots’ is critical to public safety. I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to take ownership of public safety.  It’s not just the police department’s responsibility – we can’t do the job alone.

“Having volunteers like Tammi Hawkins out there really helps keep our neighborhood safe.” Reese added, “I really commend her for her efforts, and the results that they are getting.”

Although not present at the ceremony, Brett Kelver from the Lents area was recognized for vigilantly documenting and removing graffiti from the Springwater Corridor.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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