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Chester County Press

Regional police department soon to unveil picture card set

11/04/2020 10:47AM ● By Richard L. Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

For generations of sports card collectors, every piece of cover weight stock in their stash contains a two-sided glimpse into the world of each player.

While the front reveals the contours of his profile, the reverse side offers the collector an abridged biography – a quirky rundown of achievements, statistics and hobbies. Each card serves as a cumulative resume, a portfolio, and a window -- slightly cracked open -- into one man’s job and life.

Under the large umbrella of Community Policing, law enforcement units across the United States have incorporated picture cards into their mission, as a method of sharing the stories of their officers with the public they serve.

At the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department (SCCRPD), a fresh and gleaming set of 25 cards profiling its officers and various units is about to roll off the printing press and into circulation.

The issuance of the cards could not be more perfectly timed, SCCRPD Lieutenant Joseph Greenwalt said.

“We had initially talked about creating picture cards in 2017, but what brought the idea to fruition this year was the lack of interaction we were having with our communities this year,” said Greenwalt, who saw several of the department’s events wiped away this year as a result of COVID-19. “We were looking for ways to enhance our relationships, and while many of our other community policing projects took a back seat because of the coronavirus, this project was something we could work on in-house.

“Given COVID-19’s impact on the opening and closing of schools, this project will also give many schoolchildren something to look forward to, as well. They’re having limited social interaction. It’s a two-fer; we get to find a way to reach into the community and it gives kids a cool project to be involved in.”

Sponsored by Basciani Foods

The SCCRPD’s picture cards -- which have been funded through a sponsorship with Basciani Foods, Inc. -- are being produced by the Aston-based Choice Sports Cards, a leader in the sports card industry and the maker of promotional products for leagues, franchises, businesses and industries. In addition to the regional police department, the company is also printing picture cards for police departments in West Whiteland Township, West Chester Borough and West Goshen Township.

“We arranged for a photographer to take photos of the members of the regional police department over a two-day period, at various places in southern Chester County,” said Choice Sports Card Operation and Logistics Manager Tom Van Horn. “We then sent them a bio template and asked them to write a short bio message – what they enjoy doing, where their career started – as well as a brief message of encouragement.

“I’ve spoken to many police officers in the past couple of months, and they are telling me that a lot of community members – especially children – don’t know who their police officers are, so they can’t make any personal connection with them,” Van Horn added. “These cards showcase the soft side of police officers, and demonstrate that they are just like everyone else.”

Greenwalt said that the SCCRPD plans to issue the cards intermittently over a six-month period at locations and times that will be made available on the department’s social media page.

“Officers will announce their location where the community can pick up his or her particular card, and many others will also be issued throughout local schools,” he said. “For those who collect the entire set, they will receive age-appropriate participation prizes and will also be eligible to receive a grand prize.”

Inspirational messages

On the back of each SCCRPD picture card is a quote chosen by each officer that is intended to serve as an inspiration for the hundreds of children whose curiosity will lead them to want to know more about the officer whose photograph is on the other side. On Greenwalt’s card, he has chosen the following message: “The only way to influence your future is to start creating it now.”

“These cards will be used to help form friendships meant to last a lifetime, so what better way to personalize a police officer than with a personalized card?” Greenwalt said. “Hopefully, these friendships will be formed with someone who is a positive role model, and enable the communities we serve to see police in a different light.”

To learn more about Choice Sports Cards, visit www.choicesportscards.com.

To visit the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department website, visit www.newgarden.org/sccrpd.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected]com.