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Officers taking to streets in Heart of Boynton community
Thursday, 03 March 2016 22:24

9:08 a.m. Thursday, March 3, 2016 | Filed in: Southern PBC
Alexandra Seltzer
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

BOYNTON BEACH — Kaeshwan Daughtry was outside Wednesday afternoon with his brothers on Seacrest Boulevard listening to music when they were greeted by a few Boynton Beach police officers, who were showing the media their route as part of the department’s new neighborhood police program.
Within a few minutes, Daughtry’s brothers — Eldrick Hamilton and Devin Bowie — were tossing a football back and forth in the middle of the street with the policemen — Officer Terrance Paramore and Sgt. Henry Diehl.
Daughtry said that interaction was something he’d never seen before in the Heart of Boynton community.
“That’s kind of cool,” Daughtry, 20, said while he watched.
It wasn’t the only interaction for the day. One man driving down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard stopped the car and hung a photo of his lost Yorkie out of the window and asked the officers and Capt. Mike Kelley if they had seen the pet.
Those could be seen as small gestures to some. But in this community, they’re big. Some residents in the Heart of Boynton have been saying they don’t trust the police, and both sides agree the respect and bond between the two aren’t where they should be. Improving both is what Diehl and Paramore have been asked to do.
“A lot of people say they love us out there,” Paramore said. “This is something they want to see grow.”
The neighborhood police program is being paid for with $200,000 from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. Instead of patrolling in squad cars, Diehl and Paramore are walking the streets, or riding bikes or Segways.
They started about three weeks ago.
The community has been asked to work with the police to come up with goals to improve the relationship between the police and residents. The first meeting was held in February. In the future, the program could grow with two or three more officers.
On Wednesday, Paramore said one of his personal goals is to help fix the outside of the Burks Academy daycare on Northeast Second Street. Before his involvement in the neighborhood program, Paramore responded to a police call there and noticed the building needed to be fixed. Now, he’s planning a community effort to upgrade the playground and repair water damage. All will be done through grants.
While the officers have had positive responses from some residents, others are still standoffish.
But Family Dollar Manager Rob Sanford said he’s happy to see the officers. Sanford said the other day an officer caught someone stealing from the store.
“I know they can’t stop everything, but it’s a good deterrent,” he said.
Heart of Boynton resident Sam Jones, 35, said she is just now learning about the program.
“It’ll keep young kids off the streets, hopefully,” she said.

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