Community policing working well in Upper Darby

From left, Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie, Community Policing Center Community Services Coordinator Nashid Furaha-Ali and Police Chief Michael Chitwood. — SUBMITTED PHOTO

One of Upper Darby’s answers to better serving its residents has been the presence of the Community Policing Center on Long Lane.

Since March of last year, Nashid Furaha-Ali has been the coordinator of the center and a well-respected community leader.

“Brother Ali is very good with his job,” said four-year resident Maurice Brown. “He has an ear that you can talk to and he takes his job very seriously.”

Supported by Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie and Police Chief Michael Chitwood, Furaha-Ali was courted by the pair due to his involvement in community affairs and his professional background in social service. Holding a sociology degree and having years of experience as a social worker in Philadelphia, Furaha-Ali has embraced being a hired, guardian angel.

“I am proud of facilitating safe surrenders, motivating truant students to attend school and supporting victims of crime,” he said.

Over the years Furaha-Ali has mentored 5th-grade students while providing residents with municipal resources — helping them to navigate through the township’s policies and procedures.

As a supportive parent, Mayor Micozzie often saw Furaha-Ali at local activities, being an active parent and resident.

“I would see him at some of the school music performances and recognized him from different events,” Micozzie said. “He has done a great job! He’s someone that you can call on at anytime and he’ll be there for you.”

Raya Fagg, a former 6th District councilwoman and current director of the Upper Darby Welcome Center, is a Furaha-Ali cheerleader and appreciates his work.

“Nashid and I would routinely walk the neighborhood together, to proactively tackle quality-of-life issues,” she said. “One such issue was trash in the rear of businesses on Long Lane. Residents were dumping items in the rear of businesses and the businesses were fined for the mess. Nashid and I took pictures, contacted License and Inspections, and then monitored the progress of the cleaning.

“Both the residents in the area and businesses were pleased to see the partnership of the various departments of the township,” she added.

Conscious he is a part of a community, Furaha-Ali is not shy to applaud those that he works with such as Fagg and Brown.

“He is a community resource networker and tenants rights advocate that was selected ‘mayor’ of his neighborhood,” said Furaha-Ali of Brown. “He consistently is making a conscious effort to help those in need. He’s a person that has positively influenced our community.”

Knowing and working with other community leaders and residents of Upper Darby has been an asset for Furaha-Ali and the Community Policing Center.

“Nashid takes the time to learn what the community needs,” Fagg said. “He is very popular, and if you spend time with him, you are bound to find at least two people in common.”

In addition to his work duties, Furaha-Ali recently served as a selection committee member for the Brad Schoener 5K/Music Marathon held last month. He is also a Storyteller for Peace and member of Keepers of the Culture, an affiliate of the National Association of Black Storytellers.

The Upper Darby Community Policing Center is a vital engaging place where residents obtain important information regarding various community, township, and county programs. Furaha-Ali intends on continuing to do great work while making his community a better place.

“When each Upper Darby resident with an issue or concern receives prompt service and proper results, I consider my job well done,” he said.

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