By Raul Samaniego
NORWALK – Norwalk council members labeled the spring Coffee with a Cop event a success after dozens of community members joined local law enforcement on May 4 at the McDonald’s on the corner of Imperial Highway and Norwalk Boulevard.
“It was a huge success,” said Norwalk Vice Mayor Leonard Shryock.
The morning occasion was intended to give the public the opportunity to meet some of the people who are responsible for the safety of the city, including officers from Norwalk’s Public Safety Department as well as deputies from the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station.
All uniformed officers walked amongst the nearly 70 attendees, introducing themselves and familiarizing themselves with community concerns.
In the midst of the Sheriff’s representation was lifetime Norwalk resident and 30-year plus deputy, Stephen Duoma.
Little Lake School Board Member and Norwalk resident Dora Sandoval, Norwalk Council Member Tony Ayala and Mayor Luigi Vernola were also in attendance.
When asked about the previous day’s homicide in the South Norwalk area, Vernola’s response was shaken.
This was especially true after a week where two homicides occurred within city limits and a third involving a Norwalk resident in neighboring La Mirada.
“I’m fed up with this,” Vernola responded when asked about his thoughts on the shooting death of 47-year-old Norwalk resident Michael Pina near 166th Street and Horst Avenue.
When further asked about what it would take to establish another roving sheriff substation, Vernola responded, “I want that.”
He was referring to the old “Silver Bullet” mobile trailer, which used to be parked in troubled areas as a deterrent to unwanted behavior.
“It’s currently being used by Public Safety, somewhere, I think,” Vernola added.
The City Council held a community round table-style meeting Tuesday night, May 9th at New River School for the community to voice their concerns.
“I want another [Council] meeting down there at Hermosillo Park or at Sanchez Elementary School,” said Vernola, who spearheaded the new Council’s first town hall-style meeting at New River Elementary on May 9.
The mayor suggested a meeting could take place as early as the last week of May or the first week of June.