Local supporters rallying for Thank a Police Officer Day

Communities across the nation are joining in on Saturday, Sept. 15, to “Thank a Police Officer,” and local police departments are no exception in getting some special attention.

Founded in 2012 by the Whole Truth Project, Thank a Police Officer Day has been spreading across Delmarva for the past three years, as residents, businesses and civic organization have joined hands to acknowledge law-enforcement agencies serving the 14 counties on the peninsula.

Locally, a group known as Delmarva Supports Law Enforcement has used Facebook to promote the day for grateful community members to show their support for their police departments.

Heidi Lentowski of Ocean View is spearheading the thank-you efforts for the Ocean View and Dagsboro police departments. She said she first got involved as a way to thank officers who helped make her autistic son’s birthday party a success three years ago.

Although the “official” Thank a Police Officer Day is Saturday, Lentowski said she decided to honor the Ocean View Police Department on Friday, since more of its force would be on duty that day. So, at 4 p.m. on Friday, the community is being invited to join in a celebration of the Ocean View police at the police station on Central Avenue.

There will be balloons and snacks given to honor the officers, as well as goodie bags with items donated by local businesses.

“We’re asking people just to show up,” Lentowski said.

Last year, Lentowski decided to expand her efforts to include the Dagsboro Police Department. The “Thank a Police Officer” observance there will be held from 11:30 a.m. to noon in the parking lot at the Dagsboro station, with planned remarks by Dagsboro Mayor Brian Baull.

Come by, say hi, shake their hands,” Lentowski suggested. She added that the events are a great opportunity to bring children and let them meet their town police officers, so that if they are ever in need of an officer’s help, they won’t be afraid to approach them.

“The officers just really do enjoy people being there,” Lentowski said.

Other towns planning to observe “Thank a Police Officer Day” include Bethany Beach and South Bethany, whose officers will be the recipient of an assortment of treats donated by area shops during the day. Although organizer Laura Marvel said she only recently got involved in the effort for the first time, she said she hopes community members will visit their local departments and show their support.

Even in towns with no organized events on Saturday, residents can support their local police officers in a number of ways, including the following activities suggested by Delmarva Supports Law Enforcement:

· Tell an officer “thank you” for what they do;

· Show support with a blue ribbon on a home;

· Send a card explaining why law-enforcement officers are appreciated;

· Tell Delmarva Supports Law Enforcement about a family member who serves;

· Buy a cup of coffee for an officer;

· Share a favorite story of a police officer’s kindness; or

· Help a child write a letter to a local law-enforcement agency.

For more information, go to the Delmarva Supports Law Enforcement Facebook page.

By Kerin Magill

Staff Reporter