2011-03-24 / News

Fundraising phone calls legit, not associated with JPD

By Tim Riel

Last week the Jamestown Police Department warned residents of phone calls being made to Jamestown households in an attempt to solicit money for a cyberbullying education program.

After a number of residents reported receiving phone calls from solicitors saying that they were raising money on behalf of the Jamestown Police Department, Detective Derek Carlino issued a press release stating that the department was not currently affiliated with any organization or any fundraising effort.

“No one has ever approached us to help,” said Carlino. “I’m sure it is on the up-and-up, but we are not affiliated.”

As it turns out, the organization – Partnership to Address Violent through Education (PAVE) – is a legitimate statewide organization, but Jamestown was confused with Portsmouth by some of the organization’s solicitors.

“It was our mistake,” said John Reis, a retired Providence lieutenant and the founder of PAVE. “We have been working with so many police departments in the state and must have got mixed up.”

Reis’ contact was Patrolman Brett Bucholz of the Portsmouth Police Department and not a Jamestown officer.

According to the Jamestown Police Department, any future fundraising efforts by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers or the Jamestown Police Officer’s Benevolent Association will appear in the newspaper.

Reis is a former commander of the Providence Police Department’s Youth Service Bureau and has more than 20 years experience dealing in gang prevention, relationship violence, bullying and school safety. He says that he has met with dozens of police departments in the state and is interested in working with Jamestown as well.

Reis said that he has already discussed some of the issues with Lawn Avenue School Principal Kathy Almanzor.

“We are actually targeting Jamestown for our upcoming event,” said Steve Gonsalves, a retired police officer who works with Reis at PAVE.

The event that Gonsalves is referring to is an awareness seminar that will be held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport on Saturday, May 14.

Reis said that along with bullying workshops for kids, teachers and parents, there will be face painting and a bouncy castle to keep the kids entertained, as well as informed.

PAVE will hold the event in Newport to get students in Jamestown, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Tiverton involved, according to Gonsalves.

Currently, state Rep. Deb Ruggiero is also focusing on cyberbullying. Ruggiero, along with state senators John J. Tassoni Jr. and Sen. Beatrice A. Lanzi, outlined legislation on March 15 to pass the “Safe Schools Act.” Under the act, instead of having a different policy for each of the 36 school districts, one blanket policy would be made for all public schools in Rhode Island.

Although Reis is not affiliated with Ruggiero, his goal is one in the same. He has brought police departments together to train at the Municipal Police Academy in Lincoln. By working with more than one municipality at a time, effective policies and strategies can be used statewide.

Reis has spoken across the country on issues involving bullying. He has been a consultant for the Youth Crime Watch of America, the National Crime Prevention Council, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the New England Community Policing Consortium and numerous educational and human service agencies. He is also the founder and president of the Rhode Island Juvenile Officer’s Association and worked as Rhode Island’s first crime prevention specialist for the Department of Attorney General.

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