Wareham Public Safety Event brings community together

Sep 08

The Wareham Police Association hosted its first Public Safety Event on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Wareham Middle School track.

The event featured appearances from several local departments, including Wareham Police and Wareham Fire. Other agencies included, Onset Fire, Wareham EMS, the Wareham Department of Natural Resources and the Wareham Department of Public Works.

Members of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s office gave a live K-9 demonstration and Massachusetts State Police arrived in style by helicopter. Kids of all ages were treated to activities such as face painting and finger printing.

Off-duty officers prepared hot dogs and hamburgers for guests and a raffle featured several hot-ticket items including a $700 kayak donated by John Fines of Go-Bananas. For many, however, the best part of the day was a chance to simply chat with public safety partners one-on-one.

“Our community shouldn’t just see us in a crisis,” said Acting Police Chief John Walcek. “We should be accessible to them whenever they have questions or concerns.”

The event was organized by Juvenile Detective and Wareham Police Association President Karl Baptiste. As Wareham’s School Resource Officer, Baptiste said the most important thing a cop can do is build trust with the youngest members of their community.

“These kids need to know we’re here for them,” Baptiste said. “If I can build a meaningful relationship with one kid he’s more likely to trust another officer in the future, and that can make a huge difference.”

According to Baptiste, community members donated everything from food to raffle prizes for the event.

“We didn’t spend a single dime,” he said. “We just reached out and Wareham reached back. I can’t tell you how thankful we are for that.”

State Representative Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham) also made an appearance, applauding the multiple agencies involved for their hard work.

“An event like this is huge for Wareham,” Gifford said. “Everyone gets a chance to meet face-to-face, and that’s something extremely special.”