Oxford Police Department's outreach to community pays dividends
● By Lev
In December of 2002, there was an awards ceremony for approximately 40 youngsters who participated in a contest held by the Oxford Police Department. The contest encouraged children who were in kindergarten through the sixth grade to collect an entire set of cards with a police member's photo on one side and a safety message on the other side. The cop card contest was started by police officer Chris Coverly, who wanted to help the police department find ways of interacting with the community and making a lasting impression on children in the area. The participants were able to find the cards at the officer’s sponsored location, and the officers would carry the cards with them to hand out to children. The idea was that this allowed children to meet police officers in a positive and non-confrontational basis.
One of the children who entered the contest in 2002 was Michael Taylor. Taylor was, in fact, the first place winner and he received a family membership at the YMCA, toys, and other donated gifts.
The cop card contest was held again in 2008 and another awards ceremony was held in May of that year. Taylor and his family were invited as honorary guests.
In 2009, Officer Coverly completed Crime Scene Investigation School and has taken an active role in the department with crime scene investigations.
Michael and officer Coverly have kept in touch over the years and recently Michael went on an afternoon ride-along shift to learn about police work and crime scene investigations. Michael also told Officer Coverly that he was accepted into the Forensic Science program at Alvernia University, in Reading, Pa., and received a Presidential Scholarship in the amount of $64,000 over the course of four academic years.
According to a statement released by the police department, Coverly and the other members are proud to think that they may have had a small part in helping Michael succeed in life by making the right choices.