SIDNEY — Sidney Police Department (SPD) is being honored with the “Sharing Ohio’s Best: May Agency of the Month” by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).
The award will be presented, along with all other winners, by OACP and the Law Enforcement Foundation at the OACP annual conference in September.
“Congratulations to the Sidney Police Department for their outstanding community policing efforts. Among numerous outreach efforts, the Sidney Police Department has shared their vision of positive policing in their community. Their programs include efforts to reach all age groups while spreading safety messages throughout. Your efforts have earned your recognition as our May, 2020 Agency of the Month,” OACP announced earlier in May.
This is the first time SPD has been recognized with the distinction.
“It gives me a lot of pleasure to know that the department was recognized, but more so that the officers and the citizens were recognized because it is definitely a joint partnership to build that trust and relationship to work together. For a department to succeed, they have to be able to work with their citizens and within their community,” Sidney Police Chief Will Balling said. “And to be recognized all the hard work that the officers and dispatchers do within the community was a great honor for them and me.”
OACP is comprised of over 400 members. Several department chiefs consistently submit information on the work their department is doing to be recognized. This was the first time Balling submitted SPD’s program to be considered for the recognition.
“Sharing Ohio’s Best is a way to recognize the positive community policing programs that exist in Ohio’s law enforcement agencies. It is the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation’s way to applaud these efforts,” said Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley, who leads the OACP committee that selects the monthly department recognized.
“Departments submit their agencies program to the OACP,” Balling explained of the selection process. “There is a separate committee lead by Chief Brandon Standley from the Bellefontaine Police Department. The committee reviews all the submissions and makes a recommendation.”
SPD’s program submission included information about the department’s community involvement, from car seat checks, handing out candy on Halloween, having coffee with a cop, citizens and teen police academy programs, to self defense classes, active shoot seminars, drug outreach programs, and several other ways Sidney Police positively engages the community.
OACP urges “all agencies throughout Ohio to submit their programs and be included in our efforts to inform all other agencies of programs that occur each and every day around our state. Sharing Ohio’s Best is important, and we hope you find this information useful,” the press release said about the recognition.
“The goal of the program is to highlight departments and officers for their hard work in the community. Many departments do amazing work and this program is to recognize them,” Balling said. “This (recognition) is sent out to all the members of OACP and also as a press release. There are times that chiefs will contact the award winner and talk to them about programs that they have seen. It is a good way to share information.”
When asked if he has been inspired by other departments that received this recognition, Balling said it is a wonderful program because it highlights the hard work of the law enforcement officers.
“There is sometimes a stigma that the only thing officers do is arrest people and/or issue them traffic tickets. There are many amazing programs being down by law enforcement officers across the state that sometimes go unnoticed. I have followed several departments and the work that they do and it has impressed me. Chief Michael Harnishfeger from the ADA police department and his staff was the first one that I saw and they really impressed me,” Balling said.
“This award is really a recognition for all of the employees of the department and the members of the community that we have the opportunity to work with. Being able to have a Citizens Academy, Safety Town or a RAD self-defense class is just some of the examples of the hard work that the officers and dispatchers do every day and we cannot the support the community and the willingness for them to be involved,” he continued.
The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to continuing professionalism and innovation among police executives in order to assure the continued success of the law enforcement community. It’s goals are to serve its members, increase the public’s understanding of the role of police in maintaining a quality of community life, and to foster improvements in police education, practice and research.
The Law Enforcement Foundation is a nonprofit organization established by members of its sister organization, the OACP. Its mission is to help create safer communities through the continuing education of law enforcement executives, education to the children of the community through our trained DARE officers, and to educate law enforcement on special topics as trends indicate.
“Our department strives to do all aspects from enforcement to education to community involvement,” Balling said. And I think as a law enforcement agency, you have to be willing to do all three areas to build that trust.”
Reach the writer at 937-214-6543.