The Milford Police Department will host its annual Community Night Out on Tuesday, August 2 at 6pm in BiCentennial Park to heighten awareness of the Milford Police Department’s services and crime prevention efforts while continuing to build a strong relationship with the Milford Community. This marked the 22nd year that the Milford Police Department participated in the national event, which has been going on for over 30 years on the first Tuesday of every August. The program aims to promote neighborhood spirit and a police-community partnership in fighting for a safer nation.
“The National Night Out event benefits MPD and the community by bringing both together in a fun filled evening. This is an opportunity for the police officers and the public to interact in a positive way,” said Milford Police Chief Kenneth Brown. “It allows the public to meet their neighbors and form a partnership with the police to reduce crime. Constantly building this partnership promotes input from the communities that is vital to our crime solving abilities.”
Officer Robert Masten, a 14-year veteran on the force, is leading the effort to make this year’s Night Out a success once again. Officer Masten is one of three School Resource Officers as he coordinates with Pfc Theresa Bloodswoth and Pfc Mikhail Stanton to serve all six schools in the Milford School District. School Resource Officers aim to create a positive connection with students while being a positive influence on the choices they make in and out of the classroom. By creating a positive impact on the lives of students, they hope to increase the chances that students will have a continued relationship with the police after graduation.
An evolving challenge that the School Resource Officers, teachers and parents continue to face at this level is the effect that social media is having on the interaction between students. Officer Masten states that almost every situation now has something to do with social media including cyberbullying. Phone apps that ensure confidentiality of users have also made it more difficult to trace individuals that post unwarranted photos and texts. School Resource Officers have had to quickly learn new technology and an entirely new lexicon to meet the online challenges. Their approach includes utilizing students that are proactive in keeping themselves and other students safe.
Two years ago the Milford Police Department launched a social media campaign, website and mobile app and has since attracted thousands of followers, almost 6,000 online followers through Facebook alone. While the use of online media has been successful for the department, Officer Masten stresses that Milford officers also want to make sure they continue to make face-to-face connections with the public a priority. He says that social media is helpful, but that nothing will replace making contacts in person. In the past, the annual Community Night Out has helped to start a community conversation with families and individuals on a positive, incident-free basis.
“It allows the community to come out and spend time with officers, as well as enjoy great food and music,” said Office Masten. “We hope the community knows we do our best to provide quality services. We definitely have a great group of officers that truly cares about the work we do and the Milford community. Our officers also have noticed and appreciate the support we get on a daily basis from the Milford community.”
Offering free music, food, drinks and with emergency vehicles on display, the Milford Police Department will share a fun experience with members of the Milford community. The event stressed the need for police officers to interact with citizens on an incident-free basis.
“It’s an effort for us to continue to build a strong relationship with the Milford Community and to heighten awareness of our services,” said Officer Masten. “The department has many friends in the community and this night always allows us to catch up with many of them as well as make new ones.”
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