Recently the Palmyra Police Department has been making every effort to engage with the public. From its showing at the borough’s Downtown and Public Safety Day in May to its recent appearance at the local farmers market, the department has made community outreach a top priority during the months when more people are congregating outdoors.
They aren’t showing signs of stopping either with their annual youth academy just around the corner this month, National Night Out in August and citizens police academy coming up in September.
The upcoming youth academy will be the department’s sixth since starting the free program for kids in grades six through nine in 2014. According to Chief of Police Scott Pearlman, the academy has evolved and grown in the years since its first run.
“The first year was obviously one of our smaller classes and it has grown since. We have 16 registered for this year,” said Pearlman. “It was really started as community outreach to get our kids and schools to see more of what law enforcement we do and to get to know the officers, how they train and what they do on a daily basis.”
Through the years, items have been added and dropped based on their success, and Pearlman feels they have managed to curate an engaging and educational experience that young people really enjoy. Several of the kids this year are returning participants from previous years, ready for another go.
Each day is a unique experience, and participants get to spend time with their local EMS and fire departments as well as Virtua’s Mobile Intensive Care Unit, State Police Aviation and Marine Units and Philly SWAT.
“We pack a lot into five days,” said Pearlman.
Although registration has closed for the youth academy, according to Pearlman, officers will be visiting with students this upcoming school year to drum up interest for the next academy.
On Tuesday, Aug. 6, from 6 to 9 p.m., the department, along with borough council, will be hosting the annual National Night Out festivities in the parking lot area outside of police headquarters and the municipal building as well as in Chief Peyton Flournoy Park. It is one of their biggest community-building activities of the year.
According to Pearlman, the department will have equipment on display at the event and officers available to meet and talk with residents. Local fire, EMS and CERT teams will also be present with displays of their own.
National Night Out will also feature food, live music in the park, free document shredding, inflatables and activities for children. The chief promises something for everyone at this year’s event.
“It’s a great night for the people in town to come and speak to all the first responders and get to know not just the police officers, but fire and EMS,” said Pearlman.
Dates and details have yet to be set for the next citizens police academy coming up in September, but according to Pearlman, information will be available on the department’s Facebook page in the near future as details are finalized.
This academy is geared more toward adult residents who meet at police headquarters one night a week for 10 weeks. Participants are instructed in police operations, criminal investigations and court procedure and just like the youth academy, participate in field trips to places like the Burlington County Public Safety Center for a tour of central communications and the indoor firing range.