Police Officer Bill Schneider is the Center Director at the Tacony PAL Center. Officer Schneider was appointed to the Philadelphia Police Department in 1996 and was assigned to the PAL Police Unit on December 24, 2002. Schneider is a resident of Northeast Philadelphia and enjoys watching baseball and basketball while not in the PAL center.
How did you first learn about PAL?
I am currently at the Tacony PAL Center, which is housed in St. Bernard’s School, which I attended growing up. While I was in school and in PAL, Police Officer Jerry Hartman was the PAL officer in the center.
What made you want to be a part of the PAL Unit?
As a PAL officer, you can provide a safe environment for kids, and encourage them at a young age to trust police officers. Over the years, I kept in contact with my mentor, Jerry Hartman, which is how I learned more about PAL and became interested in following in his footsteps. I also spent some time volunteering with Police Officer Tony D’Aulerio, now retired, at the former Gibbons PAL Center. Both Jerry and Tony encouraged me to work with the kids in PAL, as they were aware of my educational background and my experiences coaching and working with children.
Why do you think proactive community policing measures like PAL are so important?
Being a PAL officer, you have an opportunity to guide kids and teens, and to mentor them though encouraging them to try new things that they may not have access too otherwise. You build relationships with kids and the community. Since PAL is fun, safe, and free, kids have the opportunity to meet new friends and to try different athletic and educational programs, all while being mentored by police officers.
What is one thing you want every child to know?
I want kids to know that PAL is all about participating and showing up – not being the best. I want kids to try their hardest and to try a little bit of everything; all of our programs. If they’re respectful of their peers and staff, the rest will come easy. All kids are going to get a chance to play.
What kind of impact do you want to have on a child’s life?
As a police officer, I would like to see the children become good students and to have respect for themselves. I want them to know success isn’t the only measure in life, but being a good person is what matters most. I hope they can become positive role models for younger kids as they grow older.
Do you have a mentor who made an impact on you? Tell us about it.
I had many mentors. My parents, coaches, and teachers who took time to teach me, and to help guide my direction in life…they’re all my mentors.
What programs do you offer at your center? What programs are unique to your center?
At Tacony PAL, we run all the PAL programs. I run a very large indoor wiffleball program each year, and the kids really enjoy that. Each summer, I run a Tacony PAL Camp at the end of August – it’s unique to our center. We take field trips, explore the community, and I bring in community leaders, heroes, and pro sports players to meet with the kids. It’s a special opportunity for our PAL youth.