Pizza with the Police: A Huge Success
By: Katie Hart Smith
Over 700 people, to include Mayor Judy Johnson and Council Member Bob Clark, attended the Lawrenceville Police Department’s “Pizza with the Police” event held at the Lawrenceville Lawn on the evening of May 19, 2016. The community turn-out exceeded expectations and was deemed a huge success.
“This is the first of many community engagement activities,” said Chief Randy Johnson. “The goal of this event is to bring the police and the Lawrenceville community together so the community can have a positive interaction with their police and ask questions. The police department belongs to the community, and we want their involvement and participation.”
Left: Officer Shawn Humphrey and his police dog, Eiko
The two-hour long interactive experience provided attendees an opportunity to meet and talk with the various law enforcement officers and see the department’s mobile command and patrol vehicles. Representatives from all divisions and units of the department were on hand to interact with the public. Officer Derek Phillips, with the Crime Prevention Unit, provided helpful information to residents on reducing vulnerability to crime. It appeared crowd favorites included the police K-9 demonstration, the police motorcycles, and the various patrol and specialized vehicles on display. Members of the Lawrenceville Police Explorers Post and the Citizens Police Academy alumni were present to interact with the public and share information about their respective programs at the Lawrenceville Police Department.
Right: Chief Randy Johnson and the LPD Mobile Command Vehicle
Did you know? The Lawrenceville Police Department is divided into three bureaus which report to Chief Randy Johnson and Assistant Chief Paul King. The bureaus are: Uniform Services, led by Captain Tim Wallis; Investigative Services, led by Captain Jeff Smith; and Support Services, led by Captain Greg Vaughn. All were present to field questions, share information, and demonstrate a willingness to be a part of the community they serve.
Right: (R to L) Chief Randy Johnson, Major Paul King, and Captain Greg Vaughn
The Lawrenceville Police Department collaborates with other municipal, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies on a variety of services and cases, explained Detective Doug Schad during the tour of the Mobile Command Vehicle. The purpose of the Mobile Command Vehicle is to provide a central base of operations or “command post” in major and catastrophic events or lengthy investigations or events. The specialized vehicle was purposely built to house a communication center to allow for interoperability with other agencies and provide an emergency back-up for department communication capabilities in the case of a failure. The vehicle was wholly purchased with assets confiscated from federal drug investigations.
Jet’s Pizza, located on Sugarloaf Parkway, was a major sponsor of the event and provided guests with pizza by the slice. Blue Rooster Bake Shop & Eatery, based in the historic downtown Lawrenceville Square, provided cupcakes and desserts.
Left: (L to R) Captain Greg Vaughn, Officer David Russell, and Officer Stan Hutchins
Attendee and Lawrenceville resident L.C. Smith commented, “This is a fantastic event. It’s a great idea to address the negative police stories in the news today. It shows that the police care about their city and are real people, too.”
Lawrenceville, which has had a police department since the 1800’s, now has seventy-two sworn police officers, twenty-four civilians, and fifteen Explorer Scouts according to Chief Johnson. He also indicated his pride in the growing number of alumni of the Citizens Police Academy sponsored by the department.
Looking for an opportunity to engage and learn more about how the Lawrenceville Police Department protects and serves the city?
Left: I.T. Manager and Detective, Doug Schad provided a tour of the LPD’s Mobile Command Vehicle
The Explorer Scouts program, Post 80, is for males and females fourteen to twenty years of age interested in the opportunity to understand the role of law enforcement and receive training, and is an ideal way to identify future police officers.
According to the Lawrenceville Police website, “The Citizen’s Police Academy is designed to educate citizens of Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County about their police department and how officers enforce local and state laws. The goal of the CPA is to create and develop a growing nucleus of responsible, well-informed citizens, who have the potential to influence public opinion concerning police practices and the delivery of services.” The twelve-week program consists of classroom and practical applications. It is open to all Lawrenceville residents and those employed in Lawrenceville, eighteen years of age or older, who successfully pass the application process and a driver’s and criminal history check.
For more information about the Lawrenceville Police Department, Explorer Post 80, or the Lawrenceville Citizens Police Academy, visit http://www.lawrencevillepd.com, or talk to one of the professional and friendly police officers in Lawrenceville.