Carrollton, TX -- LAW Publications is proud to recognize law enforcement agencies and officers for their “Excellence in Community Engagement”. Providing the materials to support the community outreach efforts of over 600 law enforcement agencies across the country, LAW Publications has a front row seat to the creative and extensive efforts departments go to in trying to connect with their communities.
Law Enforcement Agencies
Appleton Police Department (Appleton, WI) debuted its “Women in Public Safety Day” event in 2022. The event engages with young women in the community to introduce them to careers in public safety. The goal of the event is to provide an immersive experience from professionals currently in the field, and to introduce them to the many different career paths available within public safety.
After a successful inaugural event, the department is now accepting applications for the 2023 event, scheduled for March 8, 2023.
For more about Women in Law Enforcement, see our “Blue Threads” profiles of Sheriff Rosie Rivera, Sgt. Jessica Howard, and Officer Alison Pollini.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (Chambersburg, PA) has developed a Community Engagement Team made up of leaders and community partners. The group develops ways to connect with the community in a way that shows the department cares about its residents. In 2022, the FCSO participated in a number of local events including an event at the local aquatic center, National Night Out, numerous Trunk-or-Treat events, as well as engaging with senior citizens through delivering Meals on Wheels, scam safety presentations, and delivering gifts to nursing homes on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Indiana County Sheriff’s Office (Indiana, PA), under the leadership of Sheriff Robert Fyock, participates in numerous local events to educate their community, including the county fair, Faith and Blue, National Night Out, Coffee with a Cop, local festivals and celebrations, as well as educational presentations to every school district in the county and several local churches. In 2022, the department also participated in a Co-Ed softball tournament to raise awareness between first responders and the community.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office (Montgomery County, MD) partnered with Montgomery County Public Schools to speak with each high school about the rise of gun violence in the community. Since the start of September, the State’s Attorney and over 15 staff members have spoken in front of the student bodies of 25 high schools, reaching over 50,000 students.
Mt. Vernon Police Department (Mount Vernon, OH), winner of our 2021 “Community Impact Award”, continues to be leaders in engaging their community. Over the past three years, the agency has conducted multi-agency training exercises in patrol operations and drug interdiction. This training exercise has attracted participation from agencies across the state. Because of this interest, in 2022, the department saw an opportunity to invite community leaders, members of the public, local politicians, and media to observe, participate, and volunteer as helpers. Specifically, they were able to partner with Mount Vernon Nazarene University to staff the event with helpers and “actors”. Students in the university’s Criminal Justice program, were able to gain valuable experience, fulfill course requirements, and interact with officers and community volunteers. The exercise was also able to reach chaplains and church security volunteers to help them learn valuable skills.
The department is proud not only to partner with so many local organizations, but also to provide a template for other communities to use in their training exercises.
Every effective organization, program, or event, requires the work of many people, but there is always one person or small group of people who are leading the effort. We would like to recognize a couple of these “drivers” within their departments.
School Resource Officer Jeremiah Armstrong and Nova (Mount Vernon Police Department, Mount Vernon, OH) are not your typical “K9 unit”. Officer Armstrong, whose work with students includes overseeing the award-winning “PAK United” program, had the insight to implement a “therapy dog” program rather than a traditional canine officer. As part of the new “therapy dog program”, the department developed a contest to allow the middle school class raising the most funds for local charities to name the dog. A group of sixth-grade students collected the most donations and their name became Officer Armstrong’s Bernedoodle partner, Nova.
Nova’s impact on the community has already been felt. New “Nova stickers” can be seen throughout the school hallways, at PAK United events, and throughout the community. The “therapy dog” program has also been impactful. One example is a case where attempts to improve a student’s behavior continuously failed, until the student learned that a few minutes of “one-on-one” time with Nova was available as a reward for positive behavior. It was a breakthrough moment for this student, who has had many positive results since then.
The department could have approached the canine position in a more conventional way. Instead, the creativity and unique “therapy dog” approach has created opportunities for stronger relationships in the community, especially with the students.
Lt. Eric Kirkland (Barnwell County Sheriff’s Office, Barnwell County, SC) is a “bridge builder”. His work connects his department to his community, as well as other departments together. Lt. Kirkland is the heart behind the award winning “Law Enforcement Expo”, which completed its second year in 2022. Along with that, Lt. Kirkland’s creativity and passion for reaching youth can be seen in the department’s “Dessert with a Deputy” event that allows kids to ask questions. They make an effort to reach everyone in any way possible. But more than the amount of activity from the department is the kindness and earnest desire to help people that emanates from Lt. Kirkland. He has a true passion for his work, and leads out with thoughtfulness and kindness.
As part of our mission at LAW Publications, we are working to tell the true stories of all of the great work that officers and departments across the country are doing each and every day. These stories don’t usually make the headlines, so we are doing our part to help highlight these stories as much as possible.
Each of these departments and officers will receive a trophy recognizing their work. Know of another department or officer doing great work in your community? Click here to nominate them for recognition.
About LAW Publications: LAW Publications has been dedicated to supporting law enforcement community engagement and education efforts for over forty years. Partnering with over 600 agencies and almost 10,000 local businesses across the country, we provide industry leading educational materials to help build safer communities. Visit www.lawpublications.net to learn more.