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Back to Archives | Back to September 2005 Contents 

Crime Prevention and Community Programs: National Police Week Activities

By Martin Dunn, Chief of Police, Jaffrey, New Hampshire



affrey has a population of around 6,000, a regional high school and middle school, and a popular state park. There are 11 police officers in the agency. In many ways, this is a typical U.S. police agency. What isn’t typical is that the Jaffrey Police Department offers regular citizen and community safety programs throughout the year, such as firearms safety classes, gunlock distributions, bicycle safety programs, and more. The police department funds their programs through a variety of sources. And these separate, ongoing programs are brought together very effectively during National Police Week each year.

During that week, the department provides citizen ride-alongs. This program affords the opportunity to witness firsthand what it is like to provide police services in Jaffrey. Participants are given a tour of police facilities and show how various pieces of equipment operate.

The officers present two-hour classes on bicycle safety. They discuss tips on how children and people of other ages should use their bicycles in order to minimize the potential for injury. Bicycle helmets and handout material are distributed to participants. The New Hampshire Highway Safety Office provides the helmets and handouts. And throughout the year officers hand out certificates for free ice cream or glow sticks when they “catch” children using safe bicycle practices. As a great example of community involvement, these rewards are provided by local businesses.

All residents holding pistol permits are encouraged to attend the workshop on firearm safety conducted during the week. Instruction on the safe handling of firearms is presented by a certified firearms instructor. The department obtained gunlocks as part of the Project ChildSafe program and provides them to workshop participants along with handouts outlining safe firearms practices. Project ChildSafe is a nationwide program whose purpose is to promote safe firearms handling and storage practices among all firearms owners through the distribution of key safety education messages and free gun locking devices. It is an expansion of the Project HomeSafe program developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and is supported by a U.S. Department of Justice grant as a component of Project Safe Neighborhoods.

The department specifically acknowledges Police Memorial Day with a banquet and a formal awards program. In 2005 it held the third annual Public Recognition of Citizens or Public Servants (PROCOPS) banquet. Officers and citizens are recognized during the banquet for unique or outstanding acts. Keynote speakers have included the U.S. attorney for New Hampshire and the New Hampshire attorney General. The banquet is open to the community, and only a nominal fee is charged.

National Police Week wraps up in Jaffrey with Police Fun Day. Officers are on hand that day to conduct demonstrations of police equipment and give tours of the police headquarters. Safety tips are discussed throughout the day on different topics, such as rape prevention, drug abuse, driver safety, and more.

DNA legacy kits were distributed to residents with children at the last Police Fun Day. These noninvasive kits collect a child’s DNA by rubbing the inside of a child’s cheek for several seconds with the applicator in the kit. The applicator is then inserted into a fixative solution so the child’s DNA is captured and preserved. This safety program is designed to promote awareness and education for parents and children in an effort to protect children against violence. The goal of the safety program is to DNA fingerprint every child. The Jaffrey Police Association, a benevolent association composed of active and retired Jaffrey police officers, financed the purchase of the kits.

Various educational materials were distributed, in addition to water bottles, T-shirts, magnets, posters, pens, and lollipops. Grade school children get to participate in a Bicycle Rodeo and young children enjoy a Spacebounce entertainment center, compliments of a local hardware store. Refreshments are provided to everyone in attendance. Volunteers from the Citizen’s Police Academy assisted Jaffrey Police Department employees without compensation.

The experience of the Jaffrey Police Department proves that an agency doesn’t need great financial resources, complicated programs, or a large staff to remain active in the community. With careful planning, consistent presence, and a willingness to engage the community as partners, any sized agency can achieve significant outreach and make an impact on their community.

For more information on these and other activities, call Chief Martin Dunn at 603-532-7865, or write to him at dunnm@townofjaffrey.com>

 

From The Police Chief, vol. 72, no. 9, September 2005. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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