A Wheaton Public Safety Working Group tasked to study ways of "improving public safety, quality of life, and perceptions of downtown Wheaton as it relates to revitalization efforts” met with several local officials in July, according to an Aug. 8 memorandum from Montgomery County Council Vice President Nancy Navarro (D-District 4) and Councilmember Hans Reimer (D – At Large).
The Working Group is comprised of Wheaton residents, business owners, civic associations and representatives from government agencies, including, but not limited to: Mid-County Regional Services director Ana Lopez van-Balen, a police representative from the 4th District, Wheaton Urban District Advisory Board and Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee members, Westfield Mall, Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Public Schools and the PTA.
At a July 9, 2012, meeting, Councilmembers Navarro and Reimer met with several members and discussed ways to bring stakeholders together on public safety issues.
The scope of the proposed initiative, which would seek to carry on the mission of the 2004 Public Safety Audit Task Force, was outlined as:
- Review, evaluate and seek to implement outstanding recommendations from the 2004 Task Force report;
- Establish a community outreach mechanism similar to the Briggs Chaney/IDA Sector Community Meeting model;
- Educate residents and business owners about Wheaton revitalization and redevelopment efforts;
- Identify gaps or possible areas of improvement in current public safety services in Wheaton;
- Develop strategies to improve perceptions about public safety in Wheaton;
- Provide recommendations, as necessary, to the County Executive and Council.
The memo was sent to the entire Montgomery County Council, Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, 4th District Police Station Commander John Damskey, Ana Lopez Van Balen, Wheaton Urban District Operations manager Joe Callaway, Wheaton Redevelopment Program Manager Rob Klein and Business Development & Intergovernmental Program manager Peter McGinnity.