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Chester County Press

Public Safety Appreciation Day entertains and informs

05/19/2015 12:22PM ● By Richard Gaw
For more than four hours last Saturday, the New Garden Township Building was surrounded by dozens of firefighters, SWAT team members, helicopter pilots and police officers on both the municipal and state levels. Nothing was wrong; in fact, the tutorials, conversations, demonstrations that were held throughout the day served to inform the hundreds of residents who attended all that is right about public safety in the community.

Hosted by the New Garden Township Police Department, Public Safety Appreciation Day gave attendees the opportunity to meet professionals and hear about what they do and how they do it. Some of the events included a demonstration by the Avondale Fire Department using its "Jaws of Life" machine to take apart a vehicle; a K9 demonstration by the Chester County Sheriff's Office; a forensic/CSI class with Newark Police Sergeant Tom Maira; a landing and take-off of the JeffStat helicopter; as well as talks by members of the New Garden Township Police on the many aspects of their job.

Brandon Michaels of the Avondale Fire Company handed out plastic red fire helmets to children.

"I think it's important to have an event like this for the community," he said. "An event like this can help us teach people about fire awareness in their homes. For instance, a lot of people don't even have smoke detectors in their homes. We can help provide them with opportunities to know more.

"We're also here for recruitment. Volunteerism is getting very difficult to come by in our area, but we're constantly trying. It's a matter of getting more and more people on board, and I think if we can get one more volunteer firefighter from this event, it will be well worth it."

Jason Culbertson of the Caln Township Police Department is a member of the Chester County SWAT Tactics team. He and his fellow members gave a full day of demonstrations of its latest technology, while answering questions.

"When civilians need help, they call the police," he said. "When police need help, they call the SWAT teams. A lot of people are unaware that this is even available within Chester County, and many times, what they see on television is typically not a good depiction of what a SWAT team does.

"We're every day people just like anyone else," Culbertson added. "We're looking to build bridges, not gaps. Some people believe that we're unapproachable, but if we don't talk to the community we are in...if we don't inform them, that gap will just keep getting farther and farther apart. So what better way to bridge that gap than something like this to bring all of us together, as well as the entirety of what Chester County has available, than an event like this?"

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