Community engagement is more important than ever before for America’s police officers. Over the last few years, police officers have been the target of public and political scrutiny after several high-profile national stories involving police use of force. Indeed, there is a growing anti-police movement in the United States today which makes it all the more important that police officers regularly engage in positive ways with the communities they serve. Here are just a few examples of police officers engaging with their communities. Stories like these often go unreported, but there is no doubt that police officers across the country are working every day to positively interact with the citizens they serve and protect.
Overland Police Department Hosts 3-3 Basketball tournament
The police department in Overland Park, Kansas took a creative approach to raising awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol by hosting what they called the “All Nets, No Drugs 3-3 Classic.” Officers from the department played 3 on 3 basketball with teams from the community in an effort to build trust and raise awareness about the dangers of drugs in their community. Check out this video posted to the Overland Park Police Department’s Facebook page. It looks like everyone had a great time!
Milwaukee officers buy basketball hoop for neighborhood kids
After three Milwaukee police officers played a pick up 3-3 basketball game with a few local kids, they realized that they were in need of a new hoop. So, after finishing up the game, the officers decide to purchase the kinds a brand new basketball hoop. They even hosted a community block party to ‘break in’ the new court.
Dunkin’ Donuts & Law Enforcement Partner to Fundraise for Special Olympics
Every year for the past 12 years, Dunkin’ Donuts has hosted its nationwide Cop on a Rooftop event to raise money for Special Olympics. This year was no different, with over 170 stores and hundreds of officers participating. The event sounds just like the name would imply: cops are stationed on rooftops with signs to help raise awareness for Special Olympics and any patron who makes a donation receives a free donut. (We’re pretty sure the cops get free donuts, too.) If the event sounds cliche and stereotypical of our donut-loving police officers… it’s supposed to be. And it’s just another way that police officers are positively engaging with their communities across the country.
Too often we hear negative headlines about police officers. Positive community engagement like the stories mentioned here are crucial to helping police officers gain the trust of the communities they serve. When the public and law enforcement share mutual trust and understanding, we are all safer for it.
These days, policing does not just include responding to crime. Here are a few other ways that police officers serve our communities that we may have forgotten. Read more here.