By Mary O’KEEFE
The Glendale Police Department hosted their annual Open House on Saturday. There was so much to see that many, especially kids, were running from booth to booth learning everything from how the GPD helicopters patrol the sky to getting sparkly temporary tattoos.
Although this was a GPD open house there were several other City entities present including a rock wall from Community Services and Parks and a fire engine from Glendale Fire Department.
And of course there was food, including hot dogs that were free thanks to the Glendale Police Foundation and an ice cream/snow-cone truck.
Five-year-old Areg Eleyjian was dressed in a police jacket, which he wore on Halloween last year.
“It’s cool,” he said of the Open House. “I like the ice cream.”
He became very excited when his mom asked him if he wanted to tour the GPD jail.
When asked if he was going to be a policeman this year during Halloween he said, “No. I am going to be Spiderman.”
That’s ok, Spiderman is in keeping with the “protect and serve” theme of the day.
Sophia Tsarukyan, five-and-a-half-years-old and her sister Leah, almost four-years-old, were having a great time at the event.
“I like the rock climb,” Sophia said.
“I like the ice cream,” said sister Leah.
They and their dad, Fred, had just met Glendale Chief Carl Povilaitis.
“I liked the Chief,” Sophia added.
“Me too,” echoed sister Leah.
The girls along with many others spent time exploring SWAT’s (Special Weapons and Tactics) new BearCat G3, an armor vehicle that is capable of acting as a rescue vehicle that can treat the injured, according to Sgt. Dan Suttles.
The vehicle is designed for Tactical Emergency Medical Services, allowing officers to get medical attention to victims sooner.
“There are larger ports [for guns] and it has firefighting capability,” said Capt. Scott Bickle.
Additionally, it has the capability to be hooked up to a water source, which goes through a mounted water cannon for the purpose of combating fire in unsecured areas, Suttles added.
There will be a paramedic on board to respond to victims, with beds and on-board oxygen tanks.
Bickle said it was unfortunate that this type of vehicle is needed but it allows the GPD to be prepared for emergencies like an active shooter. The police work closely with the fire department in their drills for emergency response.
“This [vehicle] limits our exposure,” he added.
GPD is the first law enforcement department in Southern California to get the new MedCat, Bickle said.
The department still has an older version of the BearCat.
“That one is about ten to 15 years old, and has no medical capability,” he added.
It also does not have firefighting capabilities and the ports are smaller, but it is still in use and, at times, on loan to nearby departments.
There were other exhibits including the K9 Unit, which was a crowd pleaser as the K9s highlighted their detecting skills. Visitors also got a chance to see the GPD air support, meet the pilot/officers and see video footage of how the helicopter works with patrol units on the ground.
Chief Povilaitis was kept busy talking to a lot of visitors.
“This is an opportunity for us—Open House, open doors,” Povilaitis said.
The Open House not only allows officers to meet and talk to the public but many visitors walked through the Glendale Police Museum that is located at the main police station at 131 N. Isabel, and discovered the department’s long history.
“This is a cooperative effort,” he added, of fire and the City of Glendale.
The GPD is still recruiting so the Open House event helps to reach out to those who may be thinking of a career in law enforcement. There are several positions available from officers to dispatchers. For information visit www.joingpd.com