The Rome Police Department, in conjunction with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, hosted the 3rd annual "Rome Police Law Enforcement Day" on Friday afternoon and evening. The free event, held at Franklyn’s Field, 1106 North James Street, allowed police officers and community members to interact in a comfortable environment.
"We want to build a strong relationship with the public," said Detective Commander Tim Bates of the Rome Police Department. "This provides an opportunity for the public to ask questions that they want to ask. We want to show the community that we live here and work here and care about the community."
The department particularly enjoyed seeing local children attend to help to foster long-term relationships with the kids. Bates hopes that events like Law Enforcement Day will make officers more approachable.
The strategy seems to be working, as James Uvanni, 4, of 812 Valentine Ave., referring to the police officers he just met, exclaimed "They’re our friends!" while enjoying a cookie at Law Enforcement Day with his sister Cameron Uvanni, 5. The Uvanni’s were accompanied to the event by their babysitter, Claire Kondella.
Guests in attendance were treated to police vehicle and weapons displays, a child I.D. program, child safety seat inspections, Special Response Team demonstrations, live taser demonstrations, bouncy houses, live music by Fritz’s Polka Band, and a fireworks display to cap off the night.
The snowmobile on display was the favorite of Jack Fazio, 4, of 6621 Bartlett Road. Fazio was there with his mother, Jennifer Fazio while he sat atop one of the snowmobiles that officers use for safety checks during the winter. Officer Jason W. Fairbrother explained that the Polaris machines are used to patrol trails in Rome and the outer district. Fairbrother was one of many officers who volunteered their time.
Agencies with displays included Rome, Utica, Kirkland, Boonville, and Oneida Indian Nation police departments; the New York State Police; Oneida County and Madison County Sheriff’s Offices; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Border Patrol; Rome Hospital Community Recovery Center; AmCare Ambulance; and Eastern Air Defense.