Monday, June 6, 2011

ECP: Marietta Police Dept. Open House

Last month, my kids and I went to the first Marietta Police Department Open House.  I say “first” because although they do not have a second one currently planned, I’m hoping it will happen anyway.  Why?  Because we had so much fun!!!

Entering the police station, some lovely ladies behind a table laden with sweet stuff and t-shirts greeted us.  They represented Families to Families - an organization that helps the families of everyone working in the police department.  Whether it’s the birth of a new child, to the death of a family member, Families to Families provides support and comfort.  These ladies explained the organization, then invited us to either go downstairs or visit the municipal court.  We opted to visit the municipal court.  Turns out that was a brilliant decision.

The courtroom looks like any T.V. show - stately wooden benches in rows on two sides of a wide aisle that leads up to a solid wooden fence, dividing the seating from the head of the courtroom.  We stood by the two swinging doors, wanting to see the head of the courtroom but intimidated by it, when a smartly dressed woman came through a side door.  Kim Novak, a probation officer, welcomed us to the head of the courtroom, then gave us a small tour of the area.  We saw the special holding cells, used when transporting prisoners to court hearings.  The doors were unlocked, so the kids jumped in for a photo.  We saw the special elevator used for prisoners, as well as a funky, stainless steel bathroom.  Ms. Novak explained that she uses the bathroom for drug testing her clients.  If someone doesn’t pass the test, he goes into the holding cell, to await transportation to the jail.  

When we came back into the courtroom, the court administrator demonstrated how the video recording equipment works.  We watched ourselves walk around the holding cells - a complete trip!  Then we took the elevator downstairs, to view the rest of the open house.

Just outside the elevator, they had a table with Krispy Kreme donuts set up.  I laughed at the joke - cops with donuts!  But before we could walk all the way outside, my kids spotted the firearms training simulator.  Inside a darkened room, a police officer coached participants through simulated situations.  The participants held fake guns, and pretended to shoot bad guys on a screen.  My kids patiently waited their turn, then enthusiastically shot the bad guys.

Outside, we hit the SWAT team van first.  Officer Davis answered all of our questions before explaining the various equipment on display, including a futuristic looking robot they use to view situations in houses and other buildings before entering the premises.  Officer Davis even let my son use the robot a few minutes.  

After that, we saw one of the K-9 units, the crime scene unit van - a veritable lab on wheels! - the drug unit, and the Police Explorer van.  One of the Police Explorers, Kelsey, demystified the group to me.  Explorers is a group for kids between 14 and 22 who want to be police officers.  They get a snazzy uniform, and every Thursday night learn from the officers of the Marietta Police department.  They train with SWAT and K-9 units, work festivals, and participate in traffic stops.  I already know I’ll be driving my son here in a few years.

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