By Mike Barhorst
In my previous article, I promised to go into more depth on the community-based policing programs offered by the Sidney Police Department. I would encourage residents consider how one or more of these programs could be of service to you.
Many of Sidney’s community-based programs fall under the prevue of Community Resource Officer Mike McRill. As many of you know, Officer McRill taught for several years, working as a seasonal summer employee for four years prior to joining the police department full-time He served as a school resource officer for several years prior to being named community resource officer. The programs he shepherds include the Citizen’s Police Academy, Rape Aggression Defense courses, Safety Town, and the active shooter program which has been offered to schools, businesses and industry.
Participants in the Citizens Police Academy have the opportunity to obtain an overview of how the department operates and the situations officers encounter on a daily basis. The participants meet once a week for ten weeks. The curriculum covers a host of topics including patrol operations, traffic stops, crime scene investigations, firearms training and a host of others. The program has been well-received.
The Department also periodically teaches a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) course. This 12-hour program is designed to teach female teens and adults a nationally recognized system of self-defense, hopefully providing participants the tools they need to avoid difficult situations and to get out of those situations should the necessity arise.
Long popular, Safety Town is a program designed to teach kindergarten aged children basic safety rules.
The program includes crosswalk safety, bicycle safety, playground safety, when to call 9-1-1, fire safety, and a host of other topics. An indication of the program’s popularity is the fact that it fills each year without ever being advertised. It would be appropriate to thank the wonderful group of partners and volunteers who have made this program a mainstay of this community for decades.
“Be Prepared, Not Scared,” is the title of the active shooter course that is designed for civilians who may encounter active shooters in a variety of settings. The class is taught by officers who have undergone instructional training on techniques that can be employed to more proactively handle the threat of an active shooter.
The department recently held its first Community Teen Law Enforcement workshop. This program was designed to educate local high school aged students about their local police department, with a variety of topics similar to those discussed in the Citizens Police Academy to provide local youth with a better understanding of policing in the 21st Century. The program was designed and taught by Sergeant Jeremy Lorenzo, along with other members of the department and community.
Officers also periodically offer topical presentations to the community. Recent topics have included cyber safety/security, identity theft/fraud and a host of topics concerning drug abuse.
Sadly, because of the opioid epidemic gripping the nation, the department has to expend many of their resources in the fight against this deadly addiction. In addition to educational efforts, the department is providing additional enforcement and prevention efforts in an attempt to stem the tide.
I am pleased to note that the Sidney Police Department has formed partnerships with other agencies that are committed in providing services to those in need within the community. By working together, we have a greater ability to provide the necessary assistance.
Again, I want to encourage all citizens to call the police department when they observe suspicious persons, suspicious activity, or suspicious vehicles. Do not hesitate to call when/if incidents arise; no one knows your neighborhood better than those who live and work there. For emergencies, the number to dial is 9-1-1. For all other calls, simply call the Sidney Police Department’s business line (937.498.2351).