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FPD seeks to build Block Watch

By MORGAN MANNS
STAFF WRITER

Let’s talk.
That’s the message Fostoria Police Department is trying to send to residents.
At a Block Watch meeting Wednesday evening, Fostoria Police Chief Keith Loreno, officer Brett Bethel and three community members had a lengthy discussion concerning how to get more people to attend the monthly Block Watch meetings.
“This is an opportunity for people to see officers as human beings,” Loreno said. “They get one-on-one time with the officers to ask questions or discuss issues that are bothering them or to just sit down and chat.”
Loreno said the main reason people might not be showing up is because it’s summertime and regular attendees may be otherwise occupied; however, he said another reason may be that citizens don’t have concerns they wish to talk about.
A list of Block Watch presentations and speaker ideas is being compiled for future Block Watch meetings.
Previous topics have included the purpose of K9 officers Riky and Marley; local drug use and trafficking; the purchase of the police department’s Tasers; and various impromptu topics brought up by community members.
Loreno said he wants to know what Fostoria citizens would be interested in learning or discussing and asks anyone with ideas to contact Bethel at the police department, 419-435-8573. The plan is to come up with a program so the community has an idea of what will be discussed and when, in addition to any concerns they may have.
“The goal is to enhance and improve the neighborhoods in Fostoria,” Loreno said. “We’re here to help in any way we can; if that means sitting and talking about an issue, that’s what we’ll do.”
Also discussed during the meeting:
• Various law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Fostoria Police Department, are investigating complaints regarding social media issues that may become a threat to their respective communities. Loreno said “any social media that suggests criminal acts is a concern and is always reviewed for potential violations of law.” No further information was available as the case is still under investigation.
• The Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, insofar as events resulting from the incident.
• Body cams and whether they help or hinder an officer on duty. Bethel and Loreno agreed the cams would help.
Block Watch meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of every month at First Church of the Nazarene, 339 Sandusky St., unless otherwise noted.

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