The Tigard Police Department Open House on Saturday, Sept. 30, had something for everyone: People could get educated on such topics as emergency preparation, bike safety and defensive tactics; they could have fun in the photo booth; they could sit in a patrol car and activate the siren and horn; they could learn about how crimes are analyzed, try on gear, get a free bike helmet, try on virtual-reality gear and watch a K-9 team in action.
Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., close to 1,000 people of all ages filled the parking lot where police vehicles are usually parked to visit 16 different stations set up to showcase the wide range of services and programs offered by the department. “We had 826 people, which exceeded our attendance from the last time we held it in 2019, when we had 700 people,” said Police Public Information Officer Kelsey Anderson.
One visitor, Deborah Boumann, said that police officers had visited her neighborhood’s National Night Out event on Aug. 1 and she wanted to support them. “I appreciate what they do and the public service they provide,” she said.
Kim Hamblin, sitting in a patrol car, said she heard about the event and wanted to attend to see what is was all about.
Police Chief Kathy McAlpine said that since the city had announced earlier that she was retiring in January, she had been receiving lots of best wishes and congratulations. Mayor Heidi Lueb also attended and stayed busy meeting and greeting people.
A 3-year-old dressed in a police uniform complete with badge and hat (which was his Halloween costume) was enjoying sitting on the vehicles. “He just graduated from the academy,” his mom joked.
Joanne Bengston, the city’s executive assistant to the city manager and mayor, was working with city councilors at the table providing information about the May 2024 police services levy, which is up for renewal at a rate of $0.29 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Since it was approved in 2020, the levy has funded eight additional patrol officers, one school resource officer, a property and evidence specialist, a records specialist and advanced crisis intervention and de-escalation training for patrol officers.
“We have been asking people where they are from, and they are from Portland, Milwaukie, Clark County, Vancouver, all over,” Bengston said. “A lot are saying, ‘Our police department doesn’t do this! This provides ways for showing the personalities of our officers. We have mutual-aid agreements with most of these other jurisdictions, so it’s nice for these people to meet our officers.”
When guests entered the event, they were handed a large card with the 16 stations listed next to blank police badges. If they went around to all the stations and got a stamp in each badge, they got a free stuffed animal police dog, which were very popular with the kids.