The Metropolitan Police Department’s seventh district police officers are planning more community outreach events to establish a firmer connection with residents in Ward 8 and around the District.
On Nov. 18, seventh district officers threw their first-ever seniors dance. The formal event was from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at PR Harris Education Center in Southeast, D.C. The older Ward 8 residents were able to attend the party for free and enjoy food, mingling, music and dancing.
“It was a hit,” Commander Vendette Parker told the AFRO on Dec. 5. Parker said the ball was such a success that her department has committed to providing the senior residents with at least one social outing a month. She said as the seniors exited the center they kept saying, “See you at the next one.” Parker said this prompted her to schedule another dance for the group of residents in December.
Metro Transit and members of the U.S. Coast Guard also came to escort the seniors around the ball. Parker said each attendee received a dance card and seniors could go up to an officer and ask them to dance. She said seniors are the largest population in Ward 8, yet sometimes they are forgotten. Events like the ball show older residents that, “We still cherish them and they are an important part of our community,” Parker said, adding that most community events are geared toward youngsters like the upcoming 47th Annual Christmas Party at the Panorama Room in Southeast on Dec. 14.
“Seniors don’t feel safe coming out at night for a variety of reasons,” she explained. “When we have these events we make sure we pull these officers who work right here with them.” Parker said some officers exchange phone numbers with the older residents and will go past their homes to check on them and make sure they are okay.
The next senior party is scheduled for Dec. 16. “We want to continue community policing,” Parker said.
The department’s need to build a stronger relationship with the community can help them solve murders, such as the murder of Isiah Agyekum, killed in July in Southwest, D.C.
Through community outreach events, District police hope they solve the staggering list of unsolved homicides, such as the case of Isiah Agyekum (pictured above), killed in 2015.
Police said Agyekum, 25, was walking outside an apartment building on the 100 block of Darrington Street, SW around 4:55 p.m. July 23, 2015 when the suspect, sitting on the passenger side of a vehicle, started shooting. Agyekum was struck by gunfire in the chest and transported to a local hospital where he later died, police said.
In connection to the homicide authorities arrested Turell Campbell, 23, from Portsmouth, Va., and charged him with first-degree murder while armed on Nov. 23, and on Nov. 30 Marquete Murray, 23, from District Heights, Md., was also arrested on the same charge.
Two arrests have been made in the violent slaying, but a spokesperson for the department, Aquita Brown, told the AFRO Dec. 5 that the case is still open and remains under investigation.
A motive for the shooting has not been revealed. There have been more than 180 unsolved murders in the District since 2015, according to the police.