At the July 7 meeting of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen, citizens expressed concerns about utilizing the Manchester Police Department “for pranks” and about stagnant water at the Manchester’s Dog Park.
Pulling pranks or community policing?
Local resident Tim Brown complained about utilizing employees of the Manchester Police Department for “pulling pranks.” He referred to an event that occurred on May 14 and a video that was posted on Facebook. The video showed an MPD officer stopping a limousine and “searching” it. Several children were in the vehicle. After talking with the children and “searching the vehicle,” it was revealed that pulling the vehicle over was a joke arranged by the officer and the father of one of the children. The joke was evidently entertaining for everyone involved.
“I was curious who authorizes the use of police officers to pull pranks on citizens of Manchester,” Brown said. “Who authorized this…Some person decided to pull a prank on some kids, pull (the car) over by a police officer and play games. I don’t think police officers should be used for that.”
Alderman Chris Elam called the event “community policing” and defended it.
“I did see the video and I think it was community policing with the kids,” Elam said, calling Brown’s complaint “nitpicky.”
“It was a joke played on some kids – I don’t know where they were going in a limousine – I think it was a good thing and I’m sorry that you don’t,” Elam told Brown. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the police getting involved with the community. I think it’s a great thing to interact with the kids in a fun way. I think it’s nitpicking and you’re trying to stir up something.”
Brown then expressed concern that such jokes may lead to accidents.
“It was in the middle of Walmart parking lot, and there was no one around,” Elam said. “As long as I am chairman (of the safety committee) I will never do anything to prevent police officers from doing fun stuff with the kids. Yes, that’s not their job but they do it and they should do it.”
See the video here.
Dog Park issues
Manchester resident Peggy Gaultney voiced concerns about the Manchester’s Dog Park.
“The dog park has been a huge disappointment,” Gaultney said. “The maintenance on it is horrible. The dog park is sitting in stagnant water…I believe it’s sewage.”
Gaultney said the issue began at the end of last summer and nothing was done about it even though she had informed (Director of Parks and Recreation) Bonnie Gamble. The solution then was using some straw and a cone, according to Gaultney.
“That was all that was done,” Gaultney said. “Now the water is back – and it’s not water from the rain, it’s stagnant water. There’s full access and anyone can go in there. Children will get sick; dogs will get sick. Their paws and hands touch the stagnant water. I believe (the dog park) should be closed, and (the issue) should be addressed and taken care of and not just covered up with straw…That is a health violation.”
Gamble, who was at the meeting, said “that’s not water from the sewer – the sewer is nowhere near the dog park.”
“That water is coming from the irrigation pond that’s there,” Gamble said. “There is a leak in the irrigation pond, and when it rains, as it has rained, it holds water. So yes, we can address it, but it is not sewage.”