On Sunday, Washington Court House Police Department (WPD) patrolmen stopped by a lemonade stand to play football with the children running it — the latest example of the department’s community interaction approach.
Those patrolmen were Derrick Marcum, Alex Rosado and John Michael Warnecke.
Rebecca Russell is the mother of Owen Kimmey. Shawna Bunch is the mother of James Bunch and Gavin Bunch. Their children were the ones who got to spend time with the patrolmen.
Rebecca explained that she and Shawna “wanted to share the photo because we think it’s awesome to have such a great group of officers that don’t always get the recognition they deserve.”
“The kids were so excited to see the officers pull up,” said Rebecca.
This isn’t the first time that local officers have been thanked on social media for taking the time to stop and talk or to toss a football with children in Washington C.H.
While many members of the community have expressed gratitude over this behavior, some have made comments regarding the officers needing to stay focused on their jobs. What some may not realize is part of an officer’s job is “community policing.”
According to the policefoundation.org website, research has revealed strategies “that can reduce levels of perceived crime and disorder, reduce fear and concern about crime, improve satisfaction with police service, increase satisfaction with neighborhoods and, in some cases, reduce crime itself.”
“To me, community policing is as simple as the officers caring about their community,” said WPD Lt. Rusty Lowe.
Lowe is currently in command of the WPD due to Chief Brian Hottinger being absent following a motor vehicle accident. Hottinger is resting and healing at home with his family.
“Our department has evolved since I’ve been here in ‘96,” said Lowe. “Times have changed.”
He explained that the “department has evolved into a younger department but also a department that is more” open to social interaction with the kids and adults in the community.
“They have become much more proactive in making good contact instead of the bad contact,” he said.
By interacting with children and their parents in this way, the WPD peace officers are able to get to know and meet community members in a positive manner to help build relationships. By being proactive, they don’t have to wait to meet people until those people possibly become victims, suspects, etc.
“Having those positive interactions has probably been one of the most important and best things for our community,” said Lowe.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.