The Oxford Police Department will host an open house for the Oxford community this Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chief of Police Joey East wants the open house to be an opportunity for the department to reintroduce themselves and to interact with the community.
East said he does not just want to be officers showing up at the scene, but people who are a part of the community.
“We are trying to market ourselves in a different way,” East said. “We want to be a more accessible police department.”
According to East, OPD has reorganized and “vamped up” their units. The open house is an opportunity to show others the equipment they use, along with the variety of officers who serve the Oxford community.
East says a goal of the open house is to show the community that the police officers are no different from people in the community; they too have family and also see themselves as citizens of the Oxford community.
“We definitely want to break down any walls, or the stigma of the us vs. them type of mentality,” East said. “It’s absolutely not that way.”
Joseph Bishop, an Oxford Police Department patrolman, said he is excited to show the department to the community in a more informal way.
“There’s many different perceptions of the department,” Bishop said. “The open house gives us a chance to meet people in a more relaxed and informal basis.”
David Langford, a sophomore chemical engineering and biology major, said the open house is a good opportunity for students to see OPD in a different way, rather than just “the people who give us tickets”.
“It’s a great opportunity for students and residents of Oxford to form bonds with the local authorities,” Langford said.
The open house will include demonstrations from the mounted patrol and K-9 units, investigators providing child identity kits as well as food, drinks and a bounce house for the kids.
East said the department never meets the community on their own terms, and with the open house they want to create a family environment.
“Mainly we just want to open our doors,” East said. “We want to make it a family outing.”