City Shows Appreciation to Those in Uniform
Oct 07, 2016 02:51PM ● Published by Orlando Rodriguez
Officers show off their skills. (Orlando Rodriguez/City Journals)
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By Orlando Rodriguez | firstname.lastname@example.org
The South Salt Lake City Chamber promoted the 3rd annual Public Safety Appreciation and Awareness Barbecue for the local police and fire departments on September 9. The event was hosted and catered by the Salt Lake Valley Buick GMC dealer on 725 West 3300 South, with all expenses paid for by them. All donations supported the departments and the extracurricular programs they sponsor. It also offered a chance for the public to better know those in uniform.
South Salt Lake Fire Department Chief Ron L. Morris understands what it can be like for someone to be hesitant to interact with a man or woman in uniform.
“When this event first started, people thought it was a gimmick, but when they see that we are opening our heart to the city, it grows every year,” he said.
Morris also believes that creating such a family-friendly event can change the negative image that some hold on police officers nowadays.
“We usually interact with people on the worst days, but having them here on a good day can ease the pain,” Morris said. He believes this event allowed the departments to let people know that they are here to protect and help them. Also, the fire department personnel can provide information and assistance on creating a safe environment in residents’ homes.
Morris elaborated about the programs on fire safety offered by the department. The department started an after-school program for children to learn basic fire prevention and safety, with the idea that starting education early in a child’s life can prevent tragedy in the future.
The event appealed to all family members, as some in attendance were offered rides on a fire truck’s telescopic ladder. Everyone could get an up-close look at the gear and the vehicles the departments use. The police department also had the opportunity to showcase their motorcycle riding skills.
Police Chief Jack Carruth made the rounds at the event and said,
“We understand this kind of event might have been confusing at first, but we want this to serve as a reminder that public safety is part of the community, and it dictates what kind of services are received.”
One such service is the non-profit PAL (Police Athletic League) program whose mission is to mentor troubled young men and women. Furthermore, it gives them more opportunities for personal advancement and to create amiable relationships with police officers. Apart from providing these resources, it also hosts fun events for them in order to create good relationships between the youth.
“The program is to help kids that are not going down a good path turn their lives around,” Carruth explained. “We also want parents or siblings of these kids to see the connection they’ve made with us.” The program has seen ample success and they’ll continue to take advantage of these events to inform the public of what they offer other than security on the streets, he added.
The event hosts hope to see its continued growth and the local police and fire departments continue their efforts to build trust with the community.
More information on the PAL program can be found at www.sslpal.org.