The slayings of five police officers in Dallas during a police protest on July 8 hasn’t gone unnoticed in the city of Delaware.
“The police department has received an outpouring of community support in the recent weeks,” said Delaware police Capt. Adam Moore. “We’ve had visits from local churches, individuals and children. Many community members have offered a kind word or a simple smile and wave.”
Police chaplain Dan Maurer prayed for the safety of officers nationwide and in the community during the invocation segment at a regular City Council meeting July 25. And during this week, city police have found new relevance in their community outreach programs, including its second annual “Police Academy Camp” in conjunction with the Delaware Community Center YMCA and “Picnic with the Cops”-themed First Friday on this Friday, Aug. 5.
The YMCA and city police kicked off their five-day Police Academy Camp Monday, providing insight to Delaware youth about the daily life of a police officer in the Delaware community.
“They get a cross-section of what goes on in a normal police day-to-day operations,” said Delaware police school resource officer John Hartman.
During the Wednesday session, Delaware officer Chris Cox and Delaware County sheriff’s deputy Shane Van Dyke gave a presentation to about 15 YMCA juveniles about the resources police use in their jobs, such as handling a hostage situation. The kids got a chance to hop in an armored vehicle used by the sheriff’s department, handle and wear police equipment, such as the heavy-duty vests and helmets that SWAT teams use.
Friday will be a little more relaxing as some city police officers will be on hand from 6 to 9 p.m. for First Friday. The free celebration will include a cop car cruise-in, children’s police academy training camp and an obstacle course. Sandusky Street will be shut down to traffic between Winter and Spring streets to accommodate the event.
“The police department has been organizing one of the first Fridays for approximately the last 10 years,” Moore said. “This year we are hosting a police cruiser ‘cruise-in.’ We will have several different police cruisers from several area departments on hand. Several officers from our department and area departments will be in attendance and will be available to talk policing and answer questions.”
Frances Jo Hamilton agreed.
“(Picnic with the Cops) is just a nice way for the community to interact with the police department,” said the executive director of Main Street Delaware, the nonprofit organization which presents First Fridays. “Our local police department has always been fantastic.”
Hamilton anticipates about 3,500 to 4,000 people to attend. The event will also include freeze pops, hot dogs, a DJ and area vendors.
Additionally, the Citizen Police Academy for those ages 18 and up will start on Sept. 6 and will run every Tuesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. until Nov. 15. A Saturday session will be offered from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 22. The program is an extension of the police department’s community education efforts to increase citizens’ awareness of the daily operations for police officers. Participants are instructed on topics, such as criminal law, drug investigations, traffic stops and firearms training.
Moore said the department has offered the academy since late 2002 and typically have about 15 to 20 participants.
“Police academy provides a great opportunity for the participants to see what ‘their’ police department does on a day-to-day basis within the community,” he said. “The participants and officers get to interact with each other on a less formal basis and really get the opportunity to know each other better.”
For more information about the academy, call the community relations office at 740-203-1132.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.