WPD honored for its community policing

WPD honored for its community policing

Image Credit: File

The Wooster Police Department was recently named the December 2022 Agency of the Month for its community policing efforts.

In 2018 the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation formed a new committee named Community Relations and Engagement to work with agencies of all sizes and capabilities to highlight the positive work that’s being done around Ohio.

“The Wooster Police Department has been selected as the December 2022 Agency of the Month for the Sharing Ohio’s Best program,” the committee said. “The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police’s Community Relations and Engagement Committee recently made the announcement to honor Wooster Police Department for their excellence in community policing. It is clear that the agency has made it a part of their normal operating procedures to keep their community involved in safety and education prevention for all ages.

“It is obvious that Chief Matthew Fisher and his team have taken community policing serious and implemented quality programming. Congratulations to Wooster PD for all its hard work.”

Sharing Ohio’s Best helps bring awareness to the work agencies do all over Ohio to promote positive policing. The Community Relations and Engagement Committee compiles submissions from agencies and selects one each month to be recognized.

Some of Wooster PD’s programs include the following:

Stuff the Cruiser

The City of Wooster Police Department, with the help from school administrators, assists hundreds of Wooster City School children with a toy and clothing drive every November through December. Lowe’s also donates carbon-monoxide detectors to provide to each of these families, in honor of Wooster Police Department Safety Administration Supervisor Megan Keller, who along with her husband Cody and their dog passed away Nov. 8, 2017, from carbon-monoxide poisoning.

Citizen’s Police Academy

This five-month program is offered to give community members an opportunity to get a glimpse into the day-to-day reality of what life is like for a police officer. The class meets twice per month with nine sessions and a graduation for those who have completed the course. The academy is a national initiative with programs offered in cities across the country. The curriculum for the academy includes everything from listening to officers’ spouses talk about what their life is like and experiencing a traffic stop from the police point of view to topics such as firearms, drug investigations, FATS simulator and ALICE.

Five-O Cookout

This is an annual community event that treats the community to free hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks. It serves as an opportunity for families to interact with officers out of uniform. The event includes an Officer Dunk Tank, face painting, WPD swag, handouts and first responder vehicles to explore. The Wooster Fire Department also assists in this event.

Badges & Bobbers

This catch and release fishing derby was initiated in 2022 and provides kids age 15 and under with a free fishing pole and door prizes. It is another way for the community to interact with officers both in and out of uniform.

Honorary Jr Police

This program, in partnership with the Wooster City Schools, recognizes students in the fourth grade for various attributes such as leadership, kindness and doing well at school. Monthly award winners are recognized at an assembly where they receive a letter from the chief, a Wooster PD swag bag, and certificates for free pizza and McDonald’s.

Cash for Christmas/Sgt. Santa

This community initiative, in partnership with Wayne Savings Bank, provides cash to individuals who are stopped for a minor traffic violation and given $100 to assist with the holidays. Sgt. Santa is sometimes a guest ride-along and presents the surprise. Sgt. Santa also makes appearances at other department community-related events.

Bike rodeo

The bike rodeo provides a safety course for young bike riders to establish riding and maneuvering skills. Officers are throughout the different areas of the course to help the young riders with tips and bike-safety information. Each child is provided with a free bike helmet.