Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dave Harding, who is the Crime Prevention and Outreach Officer at the Mooresville Police Department. This special team of officers were recognized as the winners of LAW Publications’ inaugural “Department of the Year” award in 2021, and Dave Harding laid out the many amazing services this department provides.
Building from Within
Mooresville, NC, is a town of about 50,000 citizens and has many visitors from time to time. The police department takes crime prevention and community relationships extremely seriously, so they work diligently to build relationships that will help their community thrive. Dave expressed that when a department works hand-in-hand with their community, they build from within. This helps the community become stronger, and together they make their town a safe place.
Events and More: Reaching the Community in Different Ways
This town has many events and activities that actively invoke community-building interactions. The department takes time to teach classes on safety, security assessments, active shooter awareness, and law enforcement education. Outside of the classes, they work with homeowner associations to help watch out for local crime that could possibly be taking place. One of the events Dave told me about really stood out to me. It is called “Heroes and Helpers.” This event touched my heart because of the people involved. “Heroes and Helpers” is an event where officers are paired with needy children/families, and they get to spend $200 while shopping for Christmas with them. I can only imagine the children’s joy, and the experience these officers give them. Not only do they get special attention, but a very special day as well.
Outside of events, the Mooresville Police Department also caters to at-risk youth by mentoring local schools, hosting the Police Cadets program (where young people interested in law enforcement participate in various training and community event), having storytime at the library, supporting a local Teen Center, hosting sporting events, or doing K9 demonstrations for the elementary school children. All are welcome and encouraged to get involved within this community, and it is truly outstanding. But it doesn’t just stop or begin with the youth. The police department also visits the elderly and assisted living communities where they join in activities, play games, and enjoy the day. They also set aside days where they have Coffee with a Cop, and they allow citizens to ask questions or voice any concerns they may have.
These activities are just the beginning of the list of amazing things this department does for their community. They cater to all ages and circumstances, and, in my opinion, build relationships that will go on for many generations. They have toy and food drives, host Cone-with-a-Cop (where they can enjoy a sweet treat with kids and/or adults), and on Juneteenth, they even celebrate the end of slavery by hosting a huge cookout at a local park. What a special department this is! You can see clearly why they stood out in so many ways. They are unique in their events, activities, and ideas, and it is evident how much they care about their community.
No Job Too Small
One story that Dave told me made my heart especially warm. He shared a situation where a 90-year-old couple had no air conditioner in the middle of Summer. They saw this as not only an uncomfortable issue, but a safety issue as well, and they were not going to allow it to go on. They immediately set aside time and bought and installed a new air conditioner for this well deserving family. As you can see, the things they do at times aren’t in their exact job description, but that doesn’t stop any of them. Wherever they are needed, they go and attend to any circumstance with a high-priority mentality. Every officer is available, and each one will extend a hand if needed.
“Department of the Year”
The Mooresville Police Department, and Dave Harding are indeed very special. I only touched upon some of the amazing moments this department has achieved or been involved with. The list goes on, and they are always coming up with new ideas every day and every chance they get.
I feel that every citizen in Mooresville truly benefits from such caring and considerate officers. They may wear a uniform but behind it they are just humans who truly show up and show out for their people. Their hearts are big, and they clearly want to be of service past the time clock. They are available to anyone and everyone that may need them. Every step they take to interact with people is very admirable.
To a well deserving department…We at LAW salute you.