Editor’s Note - This is the first in a series of commentaries explaining the Trumbull Police Department’s services and community engagement programs.

As society changes so does our police department. A professional police organization should always be growing and never accepting the status quo. Some of the measures we have taken and continue to enhance upon are very positive and specifically directed towards building community relationships. Community engagement is crucial to the function of any police agency.

The Trumbull Police Department Bicycle Unit patrols the trails, parks, schools and other areas of the town. They are highly visible and always engaging those they meet. Bicycle officers also carry automated external defibulators and Narcan to help revive those who have fallen ill and which a police vehicle may have difficulty reaching. Bicycle patrols also provide additional protection to those who may be in secluded areas of the parks and trails.

The Motorcycle Unit has been in existence for years. Officers on this team assist with funeral escorts, The Special Olympics Torch Run, Trumbull Day, Memorial Day Parade and any other community oriented event where they are highly visible and effective.

The Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking and Drugs, TPAUD, has existed in Trumbull for more than 13 years. We are more committed to TPAUD today and what it represents than ever before. As Chief of Police, I attend TPAUD meetings on a regular basis. Our three School Resource Officers are also very involved in the program and have been recognized as such by the organization.

The Freshman Forum, is an event sponsored each year by the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking and Drugs. A Trumbull police officer is always a part of the program speaking to parents and students. He will discuss underage drinking parties, possession of alcohol by someone under 21 years old, drunk driving and the consequences of violating these regulations and how these decisions can affect their futures. This is a very informative evening for students and parents.

Almost four years ago we established a School Resource Officer (SRO) program in the public schools. One officer is assigned to each middle school and one at the high school. They teach DARE to all fifth graders in the elementary schools and attend many after school programs. The SRO program not only protects students and faculty, they work diligently, building trusting relationships with all of the students. They have become an integral part of the entire school system.

In addition to the SRO’s, Patrol officers conduct what we refer to as walk and talks at each of the schools on a daily basis. They stop by the office and walk through the hallways interacting with students and faculty.

Over a year ago the Trumbull Police Department developed a Community Services Unit. The multi-functional team supplements our Detective and Patrol Divisions, responding to crime trends and other identifiable police services in town. They also direct their efforts to quality of life issues, saturation patrols, traffic checkpoints, arrests and the Coffee with a Cop and Cones with a Cop community services engagement programs