Aspinwall Police Department hold community events at Ben Killian Field

Community oriented policing became the basis of the Aspinwall Police Department.

Officers drove children across town on bike paths, served slices of Pizza with police and provided popcorn during the Movies in the Park series at Ben Killian Field.

The department recently combined the three activities to hold a July 22 jamboree for its second film screening this summer.

Patrolman Mike Broker started things off a little after 7.30pm at Aspinwall Recreation Area with nearly a dozen children on bikes, scooters and even a battery-powered moped.

Runners ran down Field Avenue to Third Street, to Lexington Avenue, to Fourth Street and back to the park. At least one other officer assisted with traffic control.

“It helps build community relationships and stuff like that,” said Broker, a member of the Air National Guard. “He names the faces with the officers and the children. It’s a bit of exercise. Gets you out and keeps (and) the kids away from video games. We stop at stop signs, make sure everyone is with us. We leave no one behind and respect the rules of the road.

“On the final stretch, we’re at full speed to get to the pizza.”

The borough purchased several pizzas from Casa Del Sole. Officers served slices, free drinks and popcorn, along with stickers and glow sticks. The O’Hara police also pulled over.

“This would never work without everyone’s help,” said Aspinwall deputy chief Mike Vith.

Phillip Jannetta, 4, from Aspinwall was among many who enjoyed the food. He was at the park with sisters Grace, 1, Stella, 3, and their mother, Rachel Jannetta.

“It’s great that the kids can meet the police,” Jannetta said. “They see them all over town. They are very involved with all the children. I think it’s fantastic. This event is awesome. It gets everyone out. We see other neighbours, other town children. We were (at) this event last year. It’s great to see him continue. We are all here on a Friday night. It’s fantastic.”

The movie that night was “Space Jam: A New Legacy” featuring NBA star LeBron James, Don Cheadle (many Marvel movies) and a host of animated Warner Bros. characters.

About 40 people watched from the field and the bleachers.

Mayor Joe Noro said the crowds were smaller than usual and expects more people to show up for screenings later this year.

“Right now is vacation time,” Noro said. “As time goes by, the crowds will get bigger. We also invite other police stations around us. We start showing around 8:30 p.m. when it starts to get dark.

The next Movies in the Park is scheduled for August 12.

It’s Disney’s “Encanto,” an animated story about an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a bustling town called Encanto. The magic of the Encanto blessed each child in the family with a unique gift ranging from super strength to the power to heal – all but one child, Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz).

She discovers that the magic surrounding the city is in danger and decides to act.

A link to the movie trailer is available at bit.ly/3S6sirX.

More information on Movies in the Park and other officer events is available from the Aspinwall Police Department Facebook page.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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