In 2018, the Police Department’s Community Response Unit and Traffic Safety Unit combined to create the new Community-Oriented Policing (COP) Division, which includes a Lieutenant, three community response officers, and four traffic safety officers. This combination of resources and experience helps to build on our commitment to keep residents and visitors safe while achieving and maintaining a superior quality of life within the community. The goal of the division is to bring together police officers, community members, neighborhood and government leaders, and local business owners to identify issues in the community and work together to combat them.
Over the last year, officers in the COP Division have been busy getting out into the community to meet residents, visitors, and local business owners. It is not uncommon for these officers to work with the Patrol Division to increase bicycle patrols within the neighborhoods and around the schools. Additionally, the COP Division successfully hosted several Coffee with a Cop events at Starbucks and Mission BBQ so residents could come out to ask questions, voice concerns, and have conversations with our officers.
“Our overall goal is to get out there to meet members of the community as regularly as possible, particularly in forums where we can have open discussions and answer questions that people may have. At the same time, we can build partnerships with local businesses in the area by doing community events like Coffee with a Cop.”
Chris Dolga, Upper Merion Township Police Officer from the COP Division
Events like these allowed officers to make themselves available to residents all throughout the Upper Merion area. In August, the COP Division planned their largest event yet, Upper Merion’s very first National Night Out. They teamed up with other local police agencies to bring a night of entertainment, information, and fun to our community. Over 2,500 residents from Upper Merion and surrounding communities came out to meet multiple police departments, enjoy music, eat local food, play games, and more. Attendees were also able to learn about local resources and programs made available to them through organizations like the Upper Merion Senior Services Center, The Center for Autism, Meals on Wheels, Montco Family Services, Women’s Center of Montco, and more.
When officers from the COP Division aren’t out in the community, they’re staying active working on new programs behind the scenes. During the holiday season, they launched their Toys for Our Township campaign, a toy drive that benefited Upper Merion families in need. Through the generosity and kindness of donors throughout the township, they were able to donate over 1,000 toys and games to less fortunate children. Additionally, thanks to a donation from PetSmart, they were able to visit every kindergarten class in the school district to meet the kids and give each one a stuffed animal. This was a great opportunity to build trust and foster positive relationships with the young children in our community.
That wasn’t the first time the COP Division reached out to our community’s youth. In the spring of 2018, they partnered with The Habit Burger Grill to encourage kids and teens to perform random acts of kindness and show good behavior in our community. The Rewarding Good Habits program gave patrol officers an opportunity to reward kids with a voucher for a free Charburger when they were seen doing a good deed or habit.
Our COP Division continues to grow and develop more outreach programs that will benefit residents throughout the township. Be on the lookout for the next opportunity to meet them by following them on Facebook.
Upcoming Community Events
- April 23: Fraud Seminar
- April 27: Upper Merion Police Association Car Show
- April 27: Race for Peace
- May 12-18: Police Week
- August 6: National Night Out
- Several Dates: Coffee with a Cop
- December: Toys for Our Township
- Camp dates: June 24-28
- Cost: $35 per child
- Cop Camp Cadets must be 11-13 years old
- The objective of the Upper Merion Township Cop Camp is to encourage better understanding between Police and area youth. From crime scene investigation to hostage rescue, Cop Camp Cadets will participate in lots of mock police activities, all while learning about teamwork, personal safety, and respect.