A Healthy Respect for the Law
“I found if you just sometimes listen to people and try and help, you can make a difference. You can also gain a lot of trust – and that’s what I did,” stated Police Officer Annamae Law.
Law was the 26th District’s former Community Relations Officer, and has been working in the district for the past 30 years. She was raised on East Dauphin Street in Fishtown, so she knew the area quite well when she was transferred to this district in 1982. Annamae was reassigned to the 16th Police District in West Philadelphia as of December 19, 2012.
Law is a true neighborhood girl. She is married and has one grown daughter (Celeste) and four wonderful grandchildren. Annamae is the oldest of nine children. Her family moved to Fishtown in the 1960s, where she attended Hackett Elementary, Stetson Junior High, and Frankford High School. She then lived in Kensington until 1985.
Annamae joined the Philadelphia Police Department in March of 1981. During her time in the 26th District, Law worked in several squads and task forces, including the Delaware Avenue Task Force and an Organized Crime Task Force specializing in Asian gangs. Annamae became the 26th District’s Community Relations Officer in 2008.
Officer Law is greatly respected in the 26th District and the surrounding neighborhoods. Her work has spanned every corner of the district in all walks of life – from helping community groups to neighbors struggling with addiction to anti-bullying programs in local schools. She has worked with many community activists and groups during her tenure here. As Law recalled, “I had a great experience working with all the community groups, both the East and West end of the district. I had a partnership with all of them. I had a great working relationship with the following community neighbors: Luanne Kelly, Terry Burns, Kathy Rhoads, Tom Potts, Kathy Campbell, Diane Bridges, Arnetta Curry, Kathy Vaughn, Victor Negron, and Natalie Davis. I also loved working with all the girls at John Taylor’s Office, Senator Tina Tartaglione’s Office, and Councilwoman Sanchez’s Office.”
Officer Law went on to say, “I never had a problem when it came time to get help from the community to help me with any event. The business owners were always willing to help with holiday meals and donations for the annual children’s Christmas party.”
Being from the area gave Annamae a unique perspective for community relations. She especially has a soft spot for young local women. As Annamae tells it, “After seeing how many of the young girls were on drugs and walked the avenue to make money to support their drug habits, and seeing how some of them lost their lives in doing so- this is what made me get more involved with helping to get them off the street. Yes,
there were many times I had to lock them up to get them off the streets, but it worked. One less girl being raped, beaten, or even killed. I would get calls or visits from parents asking me to help find their daughters.”
Some local parents would beg Law to lock their daughters up, because at least they knew their kids were safe and alive while apprehended. “This became a mission to me,” stated Annamae, “because some of the girls and women needed a push in the right direction.”
Fishtowner Dennis Hill said of Officer Law, “I have had the honor of knowing Annamae from the department and when I was at Maui Night Club. She was a true caring person for all the community. I am proud to be a friend of hers.”
Local activist Maryann Trombetta said about Annamae, “What a great Community Relations Officer! I have known her to be out there in the community, and you can tell she really loves working with the children and the residents of the 26th and other districts too. A very dedicated woman – I am proud to know her. Wherever Annamae is going, they are lucky to have her.”
Law definitely made her mark in this community. Aside from her work with community groups and women, she is also particularly proud of another project – the restoration and naming of a park named after 26th District Fallen Hero, Danny Boyle. The park is located at 8th and York Streets. “Danny was one week shy of his 21st birthday and was killed in the line of duty in 1991,” Officer Law recalled. “I have also created an annual award named in his honor at the 26th District Annual Banquet.” This year’s banquet is being held April 19. For more information or tickets, please contact Officer Ed Correa at the 26th District.
I asked Annamae if she had any parting advice as to what is needed to sustain a community in this district. Her response was simple and direct: “What the community needs to do is work together as neighbors and accept change. Be united and reach out and help each other and respect one another’s property or belongings.”
There are many things neighbors will miss about Officer Law working in the area. When asked what she will miss most, Law replied, “What I will miss the most is just riding down one of the streets in the 26th District and hearing my name being called out, ‘Hey Annamae – wait, I want to talk to you or tell you something’ or just hearing, ‘Hello, how are you doing?’ And sometimes I would get, ‘Can you get me something to eat?’ I always said, ‘No problem, be right back’ or took them to get something.”
Even though Law is being transferred, her love of her neighbors will always bring her back. As she stated, “I will always ride the district and stop in to see many of the people I have met throughout the years. There was never a bad day for me while working the streets of Kensington, Fishtown, North Philly, or Northern Liberties. I have met some great people while being assigned to the 26th District, and I will continue to visit and talk with all the great people I have met on the job here.”