Police focus of First Friday


This month’s “Picnic with the Cops” First Friday downtown coincides with a retirement in the Delaware Police Department.

“Public relations officer Rita Mendel was the one that started all this with us,” said Frances Jo Hamilton, executive director of Main Street Delaware, the non-profit organization that puts on the First Fridays. “She’s retiring this year and her last official day of work is Aug. 7 at 6 p.m. Rita’s a real hard worker and doesn’t like a lot of fanfare, so we’re trying to honor her as best we can. I think she’s gonna dunk the police chief at the dunk tank at 6 p.m.”

Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski has asked Main Street if the water can be warmed up before he gets dunked, because it’s very cold when it comes from the fire hydrant.

“That’s always a big hit,” Hamilton said of the dunk tank, where balls are thrown to get the sitting chief wet.

In addition, there will be a children’s police academy training camp, police cruisers that kids can explore. an obstacle course, with police cooking up hot dogs and handing out freeze pops. The Vintage Auto Club will be setting up, as well as 40 vendors and the William Street Church’s Lighthouse sponsoring the teen area.

“This is one of the first official First Friday themes that really stuck,” Hamilton said. “I would venture to say it’s been going on 10 years.”

Two blocks of Sandusky Street will be closed for the event, from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 7. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.mainstreetdelaware.com/.

Officer Rita Mendel at last year’s Picnic with the Cops First Friday.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/08/web1_rita-mendel-copy.jpgOfficer Rita Mendel at last year’s Picnic with the Cops First Friday.

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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