MPACT Program Strengthens Ties Between Community And Police

  • 7/16/2019 9:49:14 PM
  • Jesse Smith
  • Local News

MARION, OH - Since 2016, the Marion Police And Community Together program, also known as MPACT, has helped create stronger bonds between police officers and the community members they are sworn to protect. On Tuesday, an event called "Hot Dogs and Heroes" was held at McKinley Park in Marion, allowing kids to participate in activities with police and enjoy free hot dogs from a food truck that catered the event.

"I would say our greatest success is kind of just telling the story of the police department," said Lieutenant B.J. Gruber, an MPACT Community Policing Coordinator for the Marion Police Department. "Police officers have been seen as very robotic people, especially when you look at...we can't always control the way that we're portrayed. We understand the importance of people understanding who we really are. The people, the human beings that do this job, are putting their boots on the ground, getting out there and meeting people face-to-face."

In 2016, officers of the brand-new MPACT program were honored by then-President Barack Obama and invited to the White House, where a roundtable discussion on community policing was held. Since then, the program has helped Marion Police strengthen ties to the community, with events throughout the year held to usher community members to meet face-to-face with those that work law enforcement.

"What we've found is that we've kind of given a voice to people that felt like they didn't have one before," said Gruber. "If they felt like crime happened within their community and they don't know who to call or their first sense isn't to call the police department, at least what we find is that they're calling their community leaders, and the community leaders are then reaching out to us. In that process, I really feel like we're giving power to people who deserve it, and for a long time maybe felt like they didn't have it."

For more information on the MPACT Program, visit the Marion Police Department's website.

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