For a couple years now, I’ve been working with the Camden police department as a bit of an event videographer for them. Videotaping and editing for Facebook & their .gov website both their Quarterly & Annual Awards Ceremony. Taking place at the Campbell’s Soup Headquarters, it’s a time for the Police Chief Scott Thompson to give back to those with their feet on the street. It really is a remarkable event, hearing stories about the officers disarming numerous subject, the things they go through and the fears they live with on a daily basis. At nearly any interaction there can be a chance at a worse case scenario.

This past banquet, on Thursday November 3rd, it was a bit of a scatter as the evening before, Officer Patrick O’Hanlon was shot during an encounter following a brief chase. Chief Thompson mentioned getting a late night phone call, and that when his phone goes off that late in the evening, he always fears the worst. This was as close to it as one can get. Fortunately, he’s going to make a full recovery, in part thanks to colleagues of his who assisted by creating a tourniquet for him, to help control the bleeding. Called “Nothing short of heroic” by the police chief.

What’s different about the way they police, called “Community Policing” by the department, is that the next day they weren’t out in force. There wasn’t an armed tank with Kevlar suited officers with helmets on. They were out there, right back in that same neighborhood, serving ice cream to the kids & residents who live thru such interactions (As it turns out, the culprit wasn’t even from the neighborhood). In the past they’ve also mentioned they’ve scaled back on giving out expensive tickets for simple traffic violations, a measure due to the fact a few hundred dollars probably has a significantly negative impact on families who live paycheck to paycheck. Could be Christmas or Birthday presents to that family. They also heavily emphasize positive interactions with kids, likely a long term strategy of feeding a positive memory of the youth, in 10 years or so as they become teenagers themselves.

The ceremony was covered far more than previous awards banquets. Notably by many of the local news crews, including a few well known reporters. It was a big event, with me, there for the police department themselves, as I always am. I’m glad to assist in the small way that I can. Possibly in 2018 I can look to make greater contributions to communities in need. I’ve done so in the past, having created a 50th Anniversary video for St Johns Hospice and another volunteer video gig local to the area. It keeps me going. Intrinsic motivation is the best, and I love doing this.

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