Successful ‘Meet your Cops’ Fair brings scores to East Precinct

See what happens when the local “cop shop” ‚Äì Portland Police East Precinct ‚Äì practices community policing, in the truest sense of the term ‚Ķ

Officer Seth McLaughlin, Portland Police Explosive Unit, introduces their Andros F6a Robot to Avey and Delaney Mills and Kristi Gradwahl at the East Precinct Community Fair.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Under normal circumstances, most people dislike going to the police station ‚Äì especially if they’ve just been caught in a crime and are on their way to jail. Or, they’ve been the victim of a crime, and are going for police help.

But this July 22 event was different. On this Saturday, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct was the site of a community fair, complete with food and fun.

Grilling up sizzling burgers, dogs, and chicken are East Portland Police Cadets Ryan and Craig Budey.

Some of the hundreds of citizens who came by ate lunch, while they got to know the cops who serve them every day.

Citizens took a tour of the precinct facility, learned about the continuing training programs officers receive, and got to chance to see the “inner sanctum” of the police station.

Additionally, neighbors were able to see some of tools used by police — from SERT trucks and gear, to the ANDROS: The bomb-grabbing robot.

Portland Police Bureau Cadets James Trendell, Andrea Ettlin and Kenny Bossen take a look at SERT hardware, under the watchful eye of Officer Scott Reasor.

Offering the lighter side of community police demonstrations, Portland Police Cadets Melissa Sanchez and Leanna Heasley show neighbor Vanita Pearson “The Yo” of community policing.

“The whole idea of having an open house,” explained East Precinct Commander Mike Crebs, “is so that people can come out and see the precinct, the officers, and the equipment that we use to help keep the community safe, every day. When they see us on the street, they’ll have a better understanding of what we do.”

The commander’s family joined him at the open house: They are Lesley Michael, Lauren, and Nick Crebs.

We ask if this fair is a good example of community policing. Crebs responded, “Here, we have the chance to develop a relationship with citizens. One of the things Police Chief Sizer promotes is building trust, developing relationships, as well as the feeling of being able to comfortably communicate with their police force. We’ve opened up the precinct so people can come in and see, for themselves, what we do here. This goes a long way to reduce misunderstanding and mistrust.”

If you missed it this year, do come by for the next precinct fair. You’ll learn a lot and have a good time!

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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