In the effort to prevent and solve crimes, community policing is vital. Alert community members who serve as the eyes and ears of police departments help the cause of justice immensely.
Of course, alert police officers, using their own eyes and ears, also are vital.
A prime example of that happened last week in Mount Morris.
A possible attempted robbery of a Mount Morris bank was prevented.
A suspect in a Pennsylvania bank robbery was arrested and jailed.
A 14-year-old Pennsylvania girl in the suspect’s car was reunited with her family.
Chalk it all up to excellent work by Mount Morris Police Chief Jason White.
On Wednesday, White was doing what he usually does – patrolling the village – when he saw something strange.
Wednesday, you’ll recall, was a hot day. Temperatures were near 90 degrees. Yet, White noticed a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt approaching the Union Savings Bank.
“He was acting very suspiciously in front of the bank. When he saw me, he turned around and went the other way,” White said.
White stopped the man, questioned him, and learned that he was wanted for robbing a bank in Hughesville, Pa., 5 days earlier.
White arrested the suspect, Donald S. Guthrie, 38, of Jersey City, Pa., who is a convicted sex offender.
White then located Guthrie’s car. Inside the vehicle was a 14-year-old girl who went missing 8 days earlier and whose family was desperately searching for her. The girl accompanied Guthrie willingly, police believe.
Her family was notified. They traveled to Ogle County the next day to retrieve her.
Guthrie awaits extradition to Pennsylvania, where Chief Jason Gill of the Hughesville Police Department praised White’s sharp observations and quick action.
“Chief White did excellent police work. If not for his recognizing that Guthrie was acting suspiciously and then taking action, it’s believed he [Guthrie] could have and probably would have committed another crime, and the female might not have been recovered.”
We fully agree with Chief Gill’s assessment.
Three cheers for Police Chief Jason White! You’ve done Mount Morris proud. Congratulations on a job well done.