The Madison Police Department and especially the North District have made a concerted effort over the last few years to get more officers out in to the community on bikes. We are committed to police biking for a number of reasons. Besides the tactical advantage we gain while on bike, we know that police biking improves our approachability, increases employee health and wellness, and accounts for measurable "green" savings on gas and squad wear.
This year North District officers have been out riding with several neighborhood associations participating in our Bike-With-a-Cop (BWaC) program. This is a chance for citizens to give the police a tour of their neighborhood. These rides provide an informal, relaxed venue for our neighbors to let us know what's on their minds. Our motto is, "ride slow, stop often". If your neighborhood would like to organize a BWaC ride and let us know what's on your mind, contact me at the address below. We also look forward to joining our neighbors at Ride-the-Drive when it comes to the north side on August 12. http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/ridethedrive/
Biking is not the only way we have been connecting with the community in unusual ways. Earlier this year, we had an opportunity to partner with Madison Parks and the UW Space Place in presenting an astronomy show at Warner Park. The event known as Stars Over Warner was attended by over 70 people including many of our friends from the Vera Court Neighborhood Center. Even though skies were cloudy that night, Dr Jim Lattis and Kay Kriewald, with help from the Madison Astronomical Society put on a terrific virtual tour of the night sky.
Another Stars Over Warner event is scheduled for Friday August 24th. Watch for more information as we get closer to the date. http://spaceplace.wisc.edu/
On the heels of our success with the first Stars Over Warner event, The University of Wisconsin department of science outreach asked us again to help with an even bigger event. On Friday June 22nd, The University of Wisconsin, in partnership with the Warner Park Community and Recreation Center and The Madison Police department presented Explorando las Ciencias (Exploring the Sciences). We had a great turnout for this all day, bi-lingual science fair. The police department, with exceptional help from Investigator Marie Burgette hosted a CSI crime identification station. Other presenters demonstrated the basics of using solar ovens, held a potato chip blind taste test, explored the fascinating world of reptiles and much, much more. The day also included a presentation of The Wonders of Physics and another Stars Over Warner astronomy show. The folks at the UW were very pleased with the event and we hope to continue this collaboration and bring more opportunities to the north side. http://www.science.wisc.edu/explorando_las_ciencias.htm
Although these events may not be thought of as policing in the narrowest sense, our department appreciates these unique opportunities to meet and connect with our neighbors especially the younger members of our community. We are consistently amazed at the positive relationships that begin in these settings and then play out in unforeseen ways well into the future.
As the summer wears on and you see us out and about, don't hesitate to say hello and stop for a chat. We may even have a sticker for you!