Last month, the Ocean View Police Department hosted the Bears of Cub Pack 280 and gave the boys a little insight into being a police officer.
Cpl. Rhys Bradshaw told the four Bears, along with parents, that the OVPD is an eight-man department made up of seven men and one woman, with a ninth officer soon to be hired.
“Our responsibilities here at the police department are to handle calls for service — anything from a burglar alarm, someone at somebody’s house who’s not supposed to be there, to people that have little arguments with other each other, and then we do traffic enforcement,” explained Bradshaw. “And just helping anybody who needs it. I’ve changed flat tires. I’ve picked people up at the hospital.”
Bradshaw said another big aspect of his job is to visit Lord Baltimore Elementary School.
“We go there every day. If you guys have problems there at the school, we’re there to help you. If you have questions or just want to come say hi, that’s what we’re there for. We enjoy you guys talking to us.”
During the evening, the Bears were given a tour of the police station and were able to see the jail cells, how officers fingerprint people in custody and the department’s ATV.
The Bears were also able to check out the officers’ gear. Bradshaw said officers wear 20 to 25 pounds of gear on their waist every day, not including the bulletproof vest that each officer is required to wear. They were also able to try on a heavy tactical entry vest, designed to stop rifle rounds, and a Kevlar helmet.
Bradshaw also went over a few of the weapons the department uses, including a Mossberg 500 12-guage shotgun with a breaking barrel, a 40 millimeter launcher used as a less lethal device and an LWRC 286 semi-automatic assault rifle.
The boys were then able to pick up the cleared weapons, after a talk about proper safety techniques.
Amanda Netting, den leader for the Bears of Cub Pack 280, said having her third-graders visit a police station is part of the year’s programing.
“There are 12 tenants of being a Scout,” she said. “In each rank, we do specific things in order to complete our year’s worth of programing. One of the things they ask us to do as a Bear is to visit a police station. We interact with the police, we learn their purpose and to appreciate what they do.
“On our own, we’re responsible for six or seven of the skills demonstrated here tonight. So we’ll talk about why you always point a gun downrange.”
To continue with the lesson, Netting had also set up a mystery in which the Bears would have to dust for fingerprints and identify their parents.
Netting said the Boy Scouts of America recently revamped their program to include a greater focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math education).
“The focus on being outdoors, the focus on being civic-minded is still there, but they’ve added a big focus on STEM because it’s 2016,” she said, “and because not every kid is athletic. There needs to be enough to draw them in and engage them.”
As for the tour of the station, Bradshaw said the department doesn’t actively seek out organizations to invite for tours, but he said the officers always love inviting the public in.
“It’s the group that contacts us. But anytime a group wants to set something up — church groups, kids’ groups — we’re more than willing to accommodate them, bring them in and give them a tour. We love doing this kind of thing.”
The OVPD prides itself on its community policing, Bradshaw said, and taking the time to speak with kids about law enforcement is key in its outreach efforts.
“With all the stuff going around about police these days, it’s important to bring the kids in and teach them about what the police do. Most of the time, when they see us, it’s when we’re pulling someone over, or just walking through a school or a business. It’s important for them to come talk to us and learn what this job is all about.”
Those who may be interested in more information on Scouting or in joining Cub Pack 280 can email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ocean View Police Department is located at 201 Central Avenue, on the first floor of the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building. For more information about the department or to inquire about a tour, visit www.oceanviewde.com or call (302) 539-1111.