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INDIANAPOLIS — After two officer-involved shootings in under a week’s time, in what has already been a violent summer in the city of Indianapolis, public safety officials gathered with some of the groups they serve for two ‘community day’ events.

Each one aimed at creating a safe place for people to ask questions and build a relationship with the officers who live and work there.

“I really think it’s amazing that police are able to pull this all together and are able to have a good community,” Indianapolis resident Dim’Mya Norman said. “It’s really heartwarming.”

It’s more than just placing yourself in the seat of a police cruiser and eating a hot dog wrapped in foil. It’s more than petting a horse or K9 officer at the park… in a year marred by deadly violence, it’s now more important than ever to have a day with officers that is fun.

“This city has been through a lot of drama, ups and downs, and to see people and the police able to walk with people and talk with people and make contact, it’s special,” Norman said. “It’s very important because there’s a lot of crimes going on obviously and to see people gathered at something like this is great.”

Tanya Terry is the newly appointed IMPD Southwest District Commander. This event, she says, is just as important to the people as it is to the police who play host. 

“They have their part and we have our part but we can’t work independently of each other. We have to work together. That’s what we need. We need the communities involvement to help us make the community better.” Terry said. “These are some of our favorite moments as officers. When we get to let the kids climb in the car and turn the lights and sirens on and ask us questions about all the tools that we carry or, you know, give ’em out their own police badge to put on their shirt.”

Making ‘Junior Officers’ out of everyone from Haughville Park to Speedway – where another similar event was taking place at Leonard Park.

“I think it’s very positive,” Speedway Parks Director Tammy Smith said. “The more you can interact with law enforcement the better. They’re just everyday people too, just like us, they’ve got a servant’s heart and they want to get out and serve others. That’s why we do it.”

The event was the first of its kind in Speedway, where children and adults alike could “touch a truck” or sit in a squad car of nearly every agency in town.

“It’s a win-win really for us to have these,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said. “If we can do things that are gonna keep the crime from occurring in the first place, that’s where we’d rather be, and this is one of those events that allows that to happen.”

Protecting and serving up smiles. All in one special day’s work. 

“That’s what it’s all about,” Taylor said. 

Thursday’s community day events were the first of several others coming to the city yet this year. IMPD’s Northwest District will host their own coming up in October.