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Baltimore’s Northwest Citizen’s Patrol (NWCP) Annual Melava Malka

Wednesday November 24, 2010 6:14 AM - Leave a Comment

baltimores-northwest-citizens-patrol-nwcp-annual-melavah-malkaOn Motzoei Shabbos, November 20, the Northwest Citizens Patrol (NWCP) of Baltimore held their twenty eighth annual Awards Melavah Malkah.

The Northwest Citizens Patrol, a group that was formed by members of Northwest Baltimore’s orthodox community twenty-eight years ago, led by Dr. Tzvi (Rusty) White, has been patrolling Baltimore neighborhoods six nights a week ever since, resulting in a dramatic reduction of crime as a result. Over four hundred members of the community volunteer to patrol neighborhood streets for a three hour evening shift approximately once every seven weeks. In addition to enjoying support from the all of the local Rabanim and community members, the NWCP is privileged to maintain a wonderful relationship with the Baltimore City and County Police Departments and local politicians, creating a truly effective organization.

Rabbi Boruch Brull, a Rebbi in Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim/Talmudical Academy, was master of ceremonies. He began by commenting that the NWCP is a testament to what people can do when they are working together to improve life in their neighborhood. Rabbi Brull then thanked the many Rabanim, politicians, and police officers who all took the time to be present at the melavah malkah.

Harav Moshe Heinemann, shlita, Rav of Agudas Yisroel of Baltimore, commented on the fight that Yaakov Avinu had with the Sar Shel Eisav in this week’s parashah. HaShem had promised Yaakov Avinu that he would protect him during his journey back to the land of his birth. Why then, did he get into this fight? Harav Heinemann explained that Yaakov Avinu was promised Hashem’s protection while traveling towards his birthplace, but once he turned around and went back, he was no longer worthy of HaShem’s special protection.

We must all be careful not to put ourselves in a place of danger and we have a communal responsibility to help each other out. Harav Heinemann expressed his great appreciation to the police officers and politicians for all of their help, and concluded with the hope that we will be able to continue this relationship that will help us to help ourselves.

Rabbi Dovid Heber, Rav of Khal Ahavas Yisroel Tzemach Tzedek, discussed how the NWCP gives us the opportunity to help our neighbors and praised the organization and Baltimore for its many years of cooperation. He commented that the NWCP is a model organization and many other cities have consulted with Baltimore’s NWCP when wishing to form their own citizens’ patrol.

Rabbi Heber spoke of the struggle between Yaakov Avinu and the Sar of Eisav. At the end of the struggle, Yaakov asked the Sar of Eisav, “What is your name?” To which he responded, “Why are you asking my name?” Harav Leib Chasman, zt”l, explained, that ‘Why are you asking my name?’ is his name. The yetzer hara is someone who does not want to take responsibility. If you ask him to do something, he will respond, “Why are you asking me?”

“We are sitting in a room of honorable individuals, who all have the ability to answer to the call of duty,” asserted Rabbi Heber. “The elected officials know what the call of duty is all about. They know the community rests on their shoulders. The law enforcement personnel who join us on a nightly basis understand responsibility.”

“We thank you for this wonderful relationship. We should be given strength to serve every day to assist friends, neighbors, and community,” concluded Rabbi Heber.

 

Mr. Nachman Schachter, president of the NWCP, spoke extensively on the wonderful relationship the patrol enjoys with various politicians and members of the police department. He recognized the presence of the many police officers and politicians that were present, and thanked them for their constant assistance. Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, addressed the assembled and commented, “We have to challenge ourselves. We cannot afford to be complacent. We must face the realities of today and challenge ourselves, how can we make this patrol more successful?”

Several others addressed the crowd, including Mr. David Blumberg, chairman of Parole and Probation, Ms. Janet Henken, assistant state’s attorney who read a letter from State’s Attorney Greg Bernstein who regretfully was unable to attend and Mr. Jason Hartling, principal of Northwestern High School, each one praising the patrol as being a model organization that has served its community well for an extended period of time.

Several mentions were made of the cakes that Mr. Schachter brings them on their birthdays, which are a sign of the close relationships that are forged, resulting in a truly effective organization.

Mr. Stanley Fishkind, current chairman of the board for the NWCP, paid tribute to Mr. Moshe Hochberg, z”l (of blessed memory), who passed away a few months ago. Mr. Hochberg was extremely active in the patrol since its inception, serving as Chairman of the Board for twenty-eight years and lending invaluable assistance to the patrol on many levels. Rabbi Dovid Hochberg, son of Moshe Hochberg, accepted a plaque for the family honoring Moshe Hochberg’s contributions to the NWCP.

Mr. Schachter then presented awards to several police officers and politicians who have been exceptionally helpful to the patrol’s development, including Officer Charles Feaster, Mrs. Debbie Baer, Captain Roman Zaryk, Major Ray Presley, and Congressman John Sarbanes.

Recently re-elected, Congressman Sarbanes commented, “This is one of the most vibrant Jewish communities in the country. The NWCP is a model for groups across the country. It is very unique.. because of the volunteers that are sitting in this room…The decades of service are a testimony to this organization. I will continue to do what I can to help.”

Finally, the five police officers who have served as police liaisons to the NWCP since its inception were honored. These five men are Officer Martin Seltzer, Officer Sam Bennett, Agent Michael Maglia, Officer Kenneth Jackson, and Officer Rodney Matthews. The police department graciously assigns one police officer to be the liaison for the NWCP. This officer rides with the patrol on a nightly basis and follows up with any issues that arise throughout the day, an arrangement that has resulted in a truly effective patrol.

It was a beautiful evening, highlighting what can be accomplished when dedicated people work together to achieve a common goal.

{Baltimore Jewish Life/Matzav.com}

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