Canfield police lauded for community involvement

CANFIELD — The Canfield Police Department was recently named “agency of the month” by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation, for its efforts in community policing.

“We have community support and our community has certain expectations. One of those is a good relationship with their police department,” police Chief Chuck Colucci said. “It’s not all about writing tickets and high-speed pursuits. A bigger part of the job is maintaining a relationship with the community.”

Over the last several years, law enforcement has increasingly recognized that the relationship with communities is “as important as ever,” Colucci said.

“My stance has been, it’s no longer acceptable to say you have a quality working relationship with your community, … It’s a must that actions prove police and their communities have a strong working relationship.”

Officers perform routine residence checks and officers are encouraged to exit their vehicles and engage in conversation with people, Colucci said.

Local officials said the department is the first in Mahoning County to be named agency of the month. “It’s nice for the agency to be recognized for what we try to do day in and day out,” Sgt. Josh Wells said.

When kids are seen playing games, such as football or basketball, officers take time to complete a few plays.

Last year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, school resource officers Steve Gartska and Tim Lamping filmed a story hour that was posted to the department’s social media page. The intent was to add some level of routine for younger students. Colucci, along with other officials in the city, were also welcome to read children’s books, Wells noted.

There was an Easter Bunny parade during the pandemic, sidewalk chalk challenge and recent Safety Day, all opportunities to engage the community, Wells said.

Coming up this year, police department — sponsored and hosted events will take place once again.

On July 27, Christmas in July will be held with a Christmas toy drive, with the toys being delivered to Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman.

Family Fun Night will be held on the Village Green on Aug. 12, with children games, food trucks and a movie.

The Fall Festival will run on Oct. 2, with pumpkin carvings and food vendors.

The events, Colucci said, are “another way to engage with the community.”


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