National Night Out may be canceled, but OBPD said it still wants the community to know they are here.
Who let the ducks out?
For about the next two weeks, officers with the Ormond Beach Police Department will be "ducking" people to recognize good deeds in the community. It was an idea community outreach Officer Danielle Henderson decided to pursue for the department after she herself was handed a yellow rubber duck and thanked for her service while she was sitting at the base of the Granada Bridge.
“It made my day," said Henderson, who has been part of OBPD's outreach team for a month and half.
She and fellow officer Marianne Mele were trying to come up with a way to reach out to the community this summer since the department's biggest event of the year, National Night Out, had to be canceled due to COVID-19. And for that, they had to think outside the box.
OBPD normally holds outreach events for the community over the summer, but with the health restrictions in place, it was hard coming up with safe ways to connect with the citizens.
“We’re pretty lucky to have been ducked and come up with this idea," Mele said. "It gives us a chance to reach out to the community and thank them for supporting us as well, which we normally do on National Night Out.”
The first person to get "ducked" was Carlene Despard, vice president branch manager of the Ameris Bank located at 1259 W. Granada Blvd. Mele said Ameris Bank is a major annual supporter of National Night Out, and is always willing to help out the police department with other community events. The bank also assists with OBPD's Five-0 club, a middle school mentorship program.
Police Chief Jesse Godfrey gave kudos to Henderson and said, with the COVID-19 restrictions in place, this was a nice initiative for the department.
"To me, it’s the kickoff of going back to where we were, which is active involvement in our community, being engaged, and I appreciate everybody’s help on this — both within the department and all the businesses and all the people that are going to get ducked," Godfrey said.
OBPD conducts 25 annual community outreach programs and events, including Coffee with a Cop, Santa on Patrol and the Citizens Police Academy. Capt. Chris Roos said it's important the community know the police is here for them.
“Especially in today’s climate, the national climate, sometimes we get a bad rep, but I think here in Ormond we do it different," Roos said. "We actually do police work the way it’s supposed to be. We are part of our community.”
Have you been "ducked?" OBPD is urging citizens to take a selfie with their rubber duck and submit it via email to [email protected] to appear on OBPD's Facebook page with #OBPDMightyDuck