The Strongsville police and fire departments are on a mission to maintain safety in Strongsville’s neighborhoods through community engagement.
“In order for us to do what we do, the most important part is to have a foundation built on a bridge of trust with our city and the people who live here,” says Mark Fender, Strongsville police chief.
When officers aren’t responding to calls, they are talking with community members and business owners to address any safety concerns before these concerns lead to crimes.
The police department also has an active social media presence, which they use to encourage safe habits. Lt. Mike Campbell was looking for a new method to address theft from unlocked vehicles, so last October he began making clever memes reminding citizens to lock their car doors. The memes have proved to be fan-favorites with an important message.
“You can do one simple thing and hopefully lessen your chances of becoming a victim of crime,” Campbell says.
Keeping Kids Safe
Learning about safety at a young age leads to safer communities, too, and the police department helps educate children on best safety practices every June and July through Safety Town.
Before starting kindergarten, Safety Town participants attend workshops on topics including bus safety, poison prevention and calling 911.
Marie McManus, youth program coordinator, says parents have called to thank officers for teaching children how to dial 911 because they needed to call for medical help in real life.
In addition, the city’s fire department educates youth through its Fire Academy for Kids program. Throughout the daylong program, children ride in a fire truck, learn how to use fire extinguishers and attempt a rescue from a mock apartment building.
“The Fire Academy gives them a glimpse of what firefighters may be called upon to do,” says academy coordinator Matt Schenek, “and why firefighters do the things that they do.”
This knowledge can be a key tool for prevention.