PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Officer Hall’s dedication to making a difference was never more evident than in Northview Heights.
That’s where Officer Hall was chosen to work at the new public safety center, created to become a model for community policing.READ MORE: Film Honoring Betty White Debuts In Theaters
Officer Hall was truly at the heart of the community, the feet on the ground, the eyes and ears for residents not just fighting crime but standing with those struggling, trying to make lives better.
“He was a blessing and we appreciated his work that he did up here,” said Trina Strong.
The community of Northview Heights is feeling the loss of Officer Hall’s life personally.
Outside the Northview Heights Public Safety Center where Hall worked and dedicated himself to outreach, flowers and a teddy bear have been placed in honor of the fallen officer.
Officer Hall was part of the first response team here.
“I know he was there when my dad died,” Strong added.
Now the trauma response team, Focus, is here to help bridge the emotional wounds created by the violence that took his life.READ MORE: Mayor Gainey Vows To Have 'Streets Clear By Tonight'
“To see an African American police Officer is a reminder to us of how much gun violence we deal with week in and week out but it’s also a call to action for our community to come forward and be that change we’re desperately praying for,” said Reverend Paul Abernathy of Focus.
Officer Hall’s presence is missed and mourned, at the police substation which opened only a half year ago, in the center of a community that needed an outreach officer to build trust.
“After having such negative dealings with police it was kind of refreshing to get officers up here who are not always responding to calls of crime, violence or whatever but just to be a presence and to actually try and build a relationship,” said Strong.
On a night like this residents say they’d often see Officer Hall riding and walking through the community.
“There were some youth programs he was interested in doing, some walkabouts, you know planting a seed with the youth,” said Terrence Bennatt
A seed that residents say was planted here and will remain long after he is gone.
“When things need to be disseminated through the community, the police officers are actually doing that so people in the community could see them in other ways than just arresting people or enforcing the law, they can see them as humans,” said Olivia Bennatt.MORE NEWS: Live Winter Storm Tracker: Winter Storm Blankets Pittsburgh Region With Heavy Snowfall
Sergeant Joe Lewis, who heads the Northview Heights Public Safety Center, says he recruited Officer Hall because of his positivity and his ability to relate to all people from all walks of life.