Police department creates quarantine videos to connect with community

SEWELL, N.J. -- Part of the enormous responsibility of a police department is to develop healthy relationships among the community. This develops trust, a sense of leadership, and a communal willingness to work in tandem with law enforcement. This is typically accomplished through community events such as block parties, barbecues, and fundraisers.

But during a time of social distancing, this police department is getting more creative.

"All week we will be taking you on an up close view of what our officers are doing while following the Governor's Covid STAY HOME ORDER," says the Washington Township Police Department on their Facebook page. "Our officers sure love to spend time in the kitchen with their families. Making pizza, pasta, wine and memories! Mangia! "

Chief of Police Patrick Gurcsik decided to create a video and photo series entitled "My House," depicting the average lives of off-duty officers. Between lip-syncing with dancing teenagers, dressing up for Tik-toks with their children, or chatting by the bonfire, this multimedia series connects locals with each individual officer on a personal level.

The goal is to create an environment where people recognize their officers, trust their leadership, and mitigate negative experiences with law enforcement.

During this difficult COVID-19 crisis, police departments such as these have needed to change protocol. They have traded morning briefings for text messages and Zoom chats. Armed with masks and gloves, they serve and protect their town. They respond to each call with the utmost caution, but are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the community safe.

In between the tireless pursuit of keeping communities safe, these officers are piecing puzzles together, playing catch with their children, and tidying the front lawn. This video series acts as a reminder of this unchanging fact until the day comes when officers can visit lemonade stands, pick up basketball games, and barbecue with the community once more.

For any questions or concerns, visit the Washington Township Police Department's webpage.

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"It's important to start with the youth," said a volunteer at the Philadelphia Police Department's annual children's program. Community Journalist Matteo reports.