Perfect pairing: Pizza & Police

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Authorities say community policing is a two-way street. It means, if you’re not telling them where you need police, they might not be there.

Police held a meeting at the Housing Authority of Champaign County Monday.

People who live in public housing had a lot of questions and concerns, but they’d never called any in. Officials say that’s part of the problem and they hope it changes.

A.J. Johnson says it’s happened to everyone who lives in Washington Square at one time or another.

“When I come in at night, when the sun goes down and I’m coming in, I’m aware that there’s someone behind me.”

He’s never reported it to police, but plenty of people have reported it to CCHA, which manages the building.

“We’ve been out in the community, talking to our clients and one of the concerns was safety.”

Thus, CEO David Northern, Sr., says Police and Pizza was born. He organized the lunch to introduce residents to police and answer their questions.

“The big takeaway of today is the importance of communication.”

“They want to see us in the area more and we didn’t know that, so we’re going to be here more.”

Patrol Officer Tyler Darling says it’s a common problem for Champaign Police, even beyond the walls of Washington Square.

“I think, unfortunately, sometimes, people are scared to call us because they don’t know who their neighbors are. They don’t know who their neighbors are, they don’t know how other people might feel about them calling us.”

But, after the lunch, Johnson says, for him, that’s going to change. He hopes it does for his neighbors as well.

“Try to go beyond your own personal concerns and think of your community. If you can do that, it makes it safer for everyone, whether they have the issues or not.”

Tuesday, a Pizza and Police takes place at Steer Place, at noon.

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