Volunteer work: Officer Hatcher and Officer Hein, together...

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

January 16, 1994|By Kevin Harrison

Volunteer work: Officer Hatcher and Officer Hein, together for a year, are partners on the job and off as PACT officers (Police And Community Together) in Freetown.

Off duty, they volunteer much of their spare time participating in community activities, such as coaching basketball teams, assisting the local Head Start program, helping children with their homework and taking youngsters on field trips.

Their activities go beyond Freetown. Last month, they and fellow officers from the Northern District organized a Christmas party for North County residents at the station.

About the program: Police Chief Robert Russell says PACT officers "are the foundation for the broader community policing effort taking place. They are specialists in community policing . . . formulating a trusting partnership between the community and police. What community policing does is to get police and people back together. It's a winner."

Comments: Officer Hatcher says the Freetown community considers him and his partner friends as well as police officers. "That's not the police, that's Joe," residents tell each other, he says.

"If someone has a problem, we try to find the right place and people to send them to for help," Officer Hatcher says. "If something goes wrong, they'll page us. Kids will call me at home.

"There was a group of kids stranded at the movie theater at 1 in the morning once, and they called me at my home to come and pick them up. That's how comfortable they feel."

Officer Hein says the way residents relate to him and Officer Hatcher is a "testament and tribute."

"I believe we have the respect of the neighborhood," he says. The PACT program "has really made a big difference. They'll [youngsters] see us and come over and hang with us."

About the volunteers: Officer Hatcher, an eight-year veteran of the force, lives in Glen Burnie. He's been in the Naval Reserve 16 years as a medic and is active with the Fraternal Order of Police.

Officer Hein, a native of Pasadena and a Northeast High School graduate, joined the Police Department as a cadet when he was 18. He has been a county officer for 17 years.

Chief Russell says, "They are very extra special people. They have taken to this assignment with a great deal of enthusiasm."

"Volunteer Spotlight" is compiled by Kevin Harrison. To recommend someone, call the Anne Arundel Bureau, 315-8911, any time or fax information to 315-8916 or mail them to: The Sun for Anne Arundel, 8131 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena, Md. 21122.

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