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Newtown Florist Club to host community meeting on increased Park Hill policing
Gainesville Police Car.jpg

The Newtown Florist Club, a civil rights organization in Gainesville, is hosting a community meeting March 4 to discuss the increased police presence along Park Hill Drive. 

This follows a string of criminal acts in the area this year, including the murder of a prominent businessman outside a CVS Pharmacy and an armed robbery at a Texaco gas station. The Park Hill Drive area is also 2 miles from the Jesse Jewell Parkway Huddle House, where a man was shot multiple times Jan. 23.

Representatives from the Gainesville Police Department will be in attendance to discuss their approach to community policing.

Newtown Florist Club meeting on community policing

  • What: Community conversation about increased police presence on Park Hill Drive. Representatives from the Gainesville Police Department will be in attendance.
  • When: 6 p.m. Monday, March 4
  • Where: Bethel AME Church, 900 Mill St., Gainesville
  • More info: Contact the Newtown Florist Club at 770-718-1343 or newtown193@gmail.com by Friday, March 1, if you would like to comment or share concerns during the meeting. 

“We hope this meeting will help to keep the lines of communication open between community and police,” said Rose Johnson, executive director of the Florist Club.

Gainesville Police announced in mid-February that there would be an increased law enforcement presence along Park Hill Drive.

“Something has happened on Park Hill Drive that is adversely affecting police-community relations,” Johnson said. “When people feel under siege and become fearful that in an instant anything can go down when police officers pull up, especially when they have not committed a crime, it’s time to re-evaluate the community policing approach.”

Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said he is meeting with Johnson ahead of the event to talk about what they want out of Monday’s conversation.

“More than anything, if there is direct action of officer wrongdoing, I want to know about it, because all of our officers wear body cameras. Bring those to our attention. What I think is happening is there’s a lot of hearsay going on, but nobody can bring me time and date of wrongful action that we can look into,” Parrish said.

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