As many of you know, I will be moving into retirement from the Edgewater Police Department on Dec. 1 and I would like to highlight some quick memories.
As a new Lakewood Police Agent in 1981, I was fortunate to have developed friendships with Edgewater Police chiefs Duke Smith and (subsequently) Dan Keough. Those friendships developed over the 20 years that I assisted on Edgewater calls and became important and helpful as I was transitioning as the new chief in 2015. We are grateful for Chief Smith and Chief Keough as they continue their work today for our Edgewater community as volunteers.
My fondest memories over all these years has been my community volunteer work, often called “community policing.”
My first experience involved seeing the need for better relationships with our youth and incarcerated parents and we developed Bikes for Tykes. That program provided bicycles and gifts for children in need, for the children who were separated from a parent(s) due to jail or prison, or to a parent who was returning to the community and in need of transportation. For 18 years we provided 150 bicycles annually because of the hard work of many community volunteers, including my good friend, Mitchell’s Trailer Court Manager Patty King – thank you!
My second experience involved the need for youth to understand the consequences of poor behavior. We developed Youth Educational Tours (YET), a jail and prison tour program that ran every Tuesday night. YET provided youth and their parents with a glimpse of life behind bars and served over 15,000 area families for over 30 years. Thank you to the many inmates who counseled our youth, became friends and have moved on as good members of our communities!
And Police Fire Youth Hockey, a program that provided volunteer police and fire coaches and an inexpensive children’s sport experience for parents. Thank you to Mark Ernst, the owner of Foothills Ice Arena, for donating ice time for 18 years for the benefit of local children.
Finally, I need to thank my own family, our police officers and the many community volunteers for assisting with each of these community policing programs. There were many smaller community policing efforts over the years, but ultimately my favorite times were working together with the five communities we served as police officers to make for stronger and safer neighborhoods.
I have enjoyed my role as the Chief of Police for Edgewater Police Department, hopefully leaving it better than we found it – thank you!
John Mackey is the Edgewater Police Department’s Chief of Police.