- Feb 29
MPD Takes Giant Step With New Police-Community Partnerships
The Martinsburg Public Library was abuzz last week as members of the community filed in to the Martinsburg Room for the inaugural round of police-community “Stakeholder Subcommittee” meetings. This unprecedented community-based initiative is a new Martinsburg Police Department partnership with groups of concerned and active Martinsburg residents representing: small businesses, community organizations, school principals, faith-based organizations, and our most distinguished youth.
MPD will meet monthly with each stakeholder subcommittee to develop, improve, and implement our police-community partnership in each respective segment of our community. Representatives from each stakeholder subcommittee will comprise a “Chief’s Advisory Panel” that will meet at the end of the month—creating a true cross-section of police-community interests, discussion, and problem-solving. These new groups and meetings will improve communication and cooperation, serve as problem-solving forums to for police and the community, and further empower our residents to build and improve our neighborhoods.
Last week’s three meetings included the Small Business, Community Organizations, and Faith-Based Organizations subcommittees. All meetings were well attended, included enthusiastic participation, and addressed by Mayor George Karos, Chief Maury Richards, and Deputy Chief George Swartwood. The first meeting of the School Subcommittee is scheduled for this Thursday with the Youth Subcommittee to meet within the next week.
“Community policing isn’t just a slogan, it’s a new way of working together. Our community is only as strong as the people working together to make it better and in Martinsburg we’re taking the police-community partnership to a new level,” stated Chief Richards. The Stakeholder Subcommittee Meetings and Chief’s Advisory Panel will have an open format, in which everyone is encouraged to share concerns related to safety in the City of Martinsburg, and ideas for improving Martinsburg’s quality of life.
Delbert Pope, Volunteer Coordinator for CASA of the Eastern Panhandle, was in attendance for Thursday’s subcommittee meeting with leaders of Martinsburg’s community organizations. “I’ve been in Martinsburg for 18 years, and this is something we’ve needed, but no one has really addressed or brought together” Pope said. “Over time, Martinsburg will be one of those places where people want to live because of the community.”
Deputy Chief George Swartwood was enthusiastic about the opportunity to share some of the Martinsburg Police Department’s current neighborhood improvement initiatives, as well as to receive first-hand feedback
from the community. “After 31 years with the Martinsburg Police Department, I still love this town, and I think we have a bright future to look forward to. These meetings are going to be very instrumental in the way we use our resources to promote safety, reduce crime, and improve the well-being of our community.”
Mayor Karos expressed his appreciation, support, and enthusiasm for the new initiative and highlighted the importance of teamwork and communication is addressing the issues facing Martinsburg. “I believe in bringing people together. I’ve always said, ‘For every man-made problem there is a man-made solution’. Chief Richards’ new plan is exactly what is needed,” Karos stated.