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New group hosts panel with law enforcement, city leaders

WTOV

A new group called Ohio Valley Together hosted a law enforcement panel with the Wheeling Police Department on Wednesday evening.

It's meant to foster better relationships and an effort to work together to better the community.

"I created Ohio Valley Together after realizing that certain community members and organizations could do better and do more when they are collaborating,” said founder Rosemary Ketchum.

Ketchum moderated Wednesday's event with several leaders of the Ohio Valley, including the Wheeling mayor and vice mayor, gathered around a table. Chief Shawn Schwertfeger and two of his police officers joined in.

They discussed key issues in Wheeling including the drug epidemic.

"The law enforcement officers were spectacular, really were giving answers that helped build that community relationship,” Ketchum said.

"Anytime you can get a diverse group of the community together and have an open and honest discussion about issues, whether issues we are experiencing or they are experiencing, it's beneficial,” Chief Schwertfeger said.

But the Wheeling Police Department is working hard to combat the drug epidemic. Other topics included civil rights, protocol and what exactly goes through an officer's mind in certain situations.

"Understanding the limitations of their job and what we might ask of them was really profound for me because I'm simply just a citizen,” Ketchum said.

It's a two-way street creating an open line of communication between everyone. Chief Schwertfeger believes more meetings like this need to happen.

"Anytime you can get a diverse group of the community together and have an open and honest discussion about issues, whether issues we are experiencing or they are experiencing, it's beneficial,” he said.

Ohio Valley Together will be hosting more panels like this in the future with other first responders.

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