An easy way for officers to engage the community is by educating residents on issues that are affecting their families and neighborhoods. LAW Publications can partner with your agency to help make these no-cost and easily planned activities a way to connect with residents in a positive way while providing critical information at the same time.
- Volunteer — individually or as a team at food banks and other organizations that distribute meals and food throughout the community. Volunteering to serve the needs of others in the community and handing out items such as LAW stickers, coloring books, Behind the Scenes and safety information, allows others to see your agency as genuinely caring about the community they serve.
- Breakfast with a Kid — Have officers go to a different school each month and have breakfast with the kids. They can hand out stickers, Let’s Play It Safe, Officer Stevens, Stranger Danger, Wheel Sports, Bradford Beaver, Choices and Consequences, Connecting the Pieces, Let’s All Work to Fight Drug Abuse. Children are delighted to have an officer come have breakfast with them at their elementary school. It will help to emphasize that an officer can be a friend instead of someone scary.
- Reading with an Officer — Research shows that there is strong correlation between illiteracy and crime. An officer-led weekly story time at a library branch or school in your community may seem simple, but experts agree that reading aloud to children is the most important step toward building early literacy skills. Effective read-along books are Olly Gator Makes Good Choices and Bradford Beaver. Children can color and read along with the officer while learning how to make good choices.
- Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Calls — Domestic violence is the single largest type of calls handled by law enforcement. When officers respond, they know the situation may be volatile for them, the abuser’s victim and also the abuser. A simple gesture such as handing a child a sticker or coloring book can make all the difference at this traumatic time. Leaving copies of Behind the Scenes at the end of the call with the victim may reduce the amount of recurring visits. The victim may not read the book that night, the next day or even possibly the next week but when they do, it gives them education about healthy and unhealthy relationships, the emotional and psychological damage to children in these situations, and steps to stop the cycle.
- Senior Citizen Center or Care Center Visitation — People age 65 and older are especially susceptible to victimization, neglect, and physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. By visiting with these citizens you can build their trust and educate them about violence and scams. When Disaster Strikes, Safe and Secure…Cons, Frauds and Scams, Safety When Out and About, and Elder Abuse are designed around their unique needs, so they are perfect handouts for these visits.
- Neighborhood Watch, Crime Watch Programs, and Business Watch Programs — are some of the most effective and least costly ways to prevent crime, and reduce fear. Materials such as Safe and Secure, Detect and Detour, Cons, Frauds and Scams, and Safety When Out and About are perfect handouts for these visits.
- National Night Out Against Crime — held on the first Tuesday of the month in August (in some states October). National Night Out is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness. It is a great way to get to know your community and goes hand in hand with Neighborhood Watch Programs, Business Watch Programs etc. These events do not have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as having the local Fire Department take children for rides on a fire truck, showing young children the police cars and K9 officers, and handing out stickers and educational materials.
- Chamber of Commerce and other community meetings — Ask to speak or distribute material at regularly scheduled events like PTA meetings, Chamber of Commerce meetings, or church gatherings. These already-planned events are an easy way to stay connected with your community members. Distribute a bag with each of LAW Publications books like: Let’s All Work to Fight Drug Abuse, Active Shooter and Let’s Play It Safe.