Enter Mark Pearson. Last year, he was the first vice president of 104COP under Kotnik. In that role, Pearson learned from Kotnik and gained the experience necessary to perform the duties of president of 104COP.
“He has done a wonderful job and those are some very tough shoes to fill there,” Pearson said of Kotnik.
Pearson grew up in Long Island and moved to Glendale in 1998. He joined 104COP in August 2012 after seeing a poster inviting community members to join the organization.
“So I started in August 2012 and two months later Hurricane Sandy hit and I was just hooked,” Pearson said. “I saw that I could really make a difference, even on the patrols. Even though the patrols aren’t [extremely] exciting like trying to help out people after hurricanes, but knowing that there’s people out there driving around looking for anybody that’s doing something they shouldn’t be doing, keeping an eye out and reporting things back to the police.”
Pearson has used his experience as assistant IT director for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to help 104COP grow its online presence. His background in technology has allowed Pearson to redo the 104COP website and get the organization more involved on Facebook and Twitter, a main way to stay in touch with the community, Pearson said.
“One of my goals is to really gain a lot more exposure for 104COP,” Pearson said. “People need to know about us. That’s the idea, is to try to get the word out there about who we are and what we do, and along with that hopefully more volunteers will join.”
As president Pearson hopes to receive more funding from local politicians to help 104COP expand its programs and, in turn, its membership. Pearson said 104COP currently has 60 members, and he wants to see that number grow to 100.
“I want to get additional training for our members. I want to offer some sort of training back to the community,” Pearson said. “There is a gap between the community and the police. We’re trying to be a filler of that gap. Some people are fine with the police. Some people don’t like the police. We want to try to explain and show that everyone can work together for a common goal of keeping our community safe while keeping our quality of life as high as it can be.”