With over 20 different programs and events throughout the year, OBPD officers Jay Brennan and Marianne Durkin keep pretty busy.
From kicking soccer balls with kids at local elementary schools to the recent Hawaiian-themed National Night Out, the Ormond Beach Police Department Community Outreach Division focuses on building a relationship with the city’s residents.
With over 20 different programs and events conducted throughout the year, OBPD Community Outreach officers Jay Brennan and Marianne Durkin represent the department often — whether that be in schools, local coffee shops or even in Chick-fil-A. Brennan has been part of the division for the last three years while Durkin just recently joined a month ago.
Capt. Lisa Rosenthal said OBPD’s outreach efforts work because they have officers that care.
“It’s not just a position outside of patrol that they’ve taken,” Rosenthal said. “They love what they do, and it shows, because these programs are so successful.”
Spotlight on some programs
Aside from the greater known Drug Abuse Resistance Education programs in local schools and the recurring Coffee with a Cop and Soda Pop with a Cop events, OBPD also puts on programs like the Self Defense for Ladies and Assault Prevention classes, Mission PAWSsible — which helps local animal rescues — and the Citizen Police Academy, a five-week course that shows people what police officers do on the job.
Out of all the events and programs the division puts on, Durkin has really enjoyed the Back the Blue sports series this year, where OBPD challenged elementary schools to various sports games — even if the officers got schooled during one of the soccer games.
Brennan enjoys the Santa on Patrol program that the department puts on during the holiday. The outreach officers, along with “Santa Claus," get to stop by playgrounds and shops to give out toys to local children.
“They don’t even know we’re coming, and we do naughty or nice tickets,” Brennan said. “It’s pretty fun.”
Setting the department apart
Having spent 21 years in a different agency before coming to OBPD, Police Chief Jesse Godfrey said what sets this department apart is the Outreach Division.
“It’s one of our main strengths, and the amount of community support and interaction that we have here is incomparable to the other agencies that I see around here,” Godfrey said.
Durkin, who transferred to the division from patrol, said it’s crazy to see first-hand the community thanking the officers and support them.
“Being in Outreach, you’re the one people recognize the most,” Durkin said.
Brennan said he has friends in other departments that don’t participate in community outreach, and they’re not used to people coming up to them just to thank them for their service.
“When I tell them stories about people talking to us and doing these things, they are basically baffled because it doesn’t happen in their cities,” Brennan said.
Godfrey said he’s appreciative of the support OBPD receives from the residents.
“I say this all the time,” Godfrey said. “We’re blessed to work in this community. We really are.”