Harborside Park is safer thanks to the efforts of two local police officers from the Chula Vista Police Department. On February 17, 2015, Officer Evelia Kahl and Offer Tyler Wall, received Live Well San Diego Champion awards for their efforts to ensure Harborside Park remains a safe place for children, family and staff. Barbara Jimènez, Director for the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency Central and South Regions, presented the award acknowledging the officers’ work in their community.
In collaboration with the Health and Human Services Agency South Region through the South Region Safety and Wellness Committee, the Chula Vista Police Department has been actively conducting activities at Harborside Park to decrease the presence of gang activity, drug use/abuse, and other negative activities that discourage children and families from visiting the park. This collaboration allowed Officers Kahl and Wall to show their commitment and implement strategies that have made the park a safer place to visit.
Haborside Park is a local park built in a commercial area neighboring the South Region health services building. Starting in 2010, the park saw an increase in unsafe activity including extensive gang activity, graffiti and drug use with needles being left in the park. These activities began to impact children’s and family’s willingness to use the park for recreation.
As a result, in April 2013, the South Region Safety and Wellness Committee began convening special meetings known as the Harborside Park Safety and Revitalization Collaborative, focused on identifying strategies to ensure Harborside Park is a safe place for children and families. Since that time, on a quarterly basis, more than 25 key stakeholders participate in the meetings, including Chula Vista Police Department officers, who play a very vital role in the safety of the park.
The Live Well San Diego Champion Award is a special award created by the Health and Human Services Agency to recognize individuals and organizations who have exemplified a strong sense of commitment and who have made outstanding contributions towards creating healthy, safe and thriving communities for the residents of San Diego County.
At Tuesday’s event, the City of Chula Vista also issued a special proclamation in honor of the two officers, and Mayor Mary Salas shared some history on how Harborside Park even came into existence, ending with personal thanks to the officers and the Chula Vista Police Department for their safety efforts.