NORWOOD — With Halloween just around the bend, Village Police Officer in Charge Shawn J. Wells is advocating kids to have fun while being safe through a new program.
The Norwood Police Department Safe Halloween Campaign is the newest program to grow out of the part-time village police department that is trying to foster a community oriented police force, Mr. Wells said.
“(The program) is fostering safety for children while they have fun on a very busy holiday,” he said.
Members of the police department will be giving out free reflective trick-or-treat bags at the police station, located at 12 Bernard Ave. from now until Halloween or until supplies are gone. They can also call the station at (315) 353-2131, in advance, to make sure there is an officer at the station.
The bags include a coloring-activity book with stickers, crayons and candy will be added in the future, Mr. Wells said.
The reflective material will help children be seen while crossing the street and walking on sidewalks and will be available whenever officers are in the building. Families can also call ahead to make sure an officer is available.
Mr. Wells became the department’s officer in charge in April after 21½ years as a St. Lawrence County sheriff’s deputy. He said this kind of program and this kind of community oriented policing is something county and state police agencies usually can’t provide.
“This is what makes us different than the sheriff’s department or the state police,” he said. “They don‘t have the luxury of being community oriented, like an agency like Norwood does. So our focus is going to be the community.”
The program is taking the place of the soon-to conclude Positive Ticket Program, where officers on patrol write out tickets to kids in the community who are doing good work in the village, like helping their parents and exercising good judgment. The tickets are then redeemable at The Village Diner for a free ice cream cone. But with the weather changing, that program will conclude for the winter months and Mr. Wells said he wanted to start a program that continues to encourage community outreach.
“The Village Board members were jumping at the chance to do this, so, it was good to see,” Mr. Wells said.
Mayor Timothy L. Levison said Mr. Wells pitched the idea to the Village Board at the Aug. 20 meeting and “we backed him, wholeheartedly!“
“Our PD is community oriented and realize the importance of interacting with the children of the village,” Mayor Levison said. “They will be giving out bags at the Norwood Fall Festival this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.”