The Opelika Police Department

Agency being nominated

The Opelika Police Department

What organization / program will receive the award funds

Shop with a Cop

Tell us about how this agency has made an impact in the community. Has this agency been working on a specific community project- or have goals to complete one? Please be detailed.

In October of 2020, the Opelika Police Department (OPD) launched its Together Opelika campaign focused on building stronger relationships within the community. After a few months of engaging with the community, they were able to establish 4 main goals to focus on in 2021; build better relationships, build trust, become better educators, and become better communicators. OPD increased their community engagement allowing for officers to have more interaction with the community. Partnerships with the local organizations led to events such as the Together Opelika GAME ON Flag Football event, several Pops with Cops Pop-Ups, Dunk OPD, Cocoa with a Cop, and a Snowball Fight at SnOpelika. By the end of 2021, OPD had participated in over 200 community events. These events not only allow for officers to build relationships with the community but also work towards building trust by educating citizens on policies and procedures. The community is learning what the police do, and why, so there can be a better understanding between citizens and law enforcement. In the fall of 2021, OPD launched a new curriculum in the Opelika School System. Sophomores in Opelika High School’s Drivers Ed class learned about navigating traffic stops and the court process from officers. Students had the chance to run through traffic stop scenarios with officers and ask questions. Seniors learned about “Policing and Me” during their Government Class, which focused on the Bill of Rights and how it applies to policing, and more importantly, their daily lives. The department also found innovative ways to communicate with citizens. They launched a new mobile app and established a social media presence. When the community was having issues with vehicle break-ins, OPD communicated crime prevention tips through signage, social media posts, and mobile alerts. They were consistent in releasing information to the public through their website, social media accounts, and mobile app. Additionally, OPD launched a new voluntary community program called Project S.A.F.E.R which stands for Special Assistance For Emergency Response. The program focuses on providing information through a special needs registry which will allow first responders to better assist individuals with cognitive, developmental, or mental health disabilities in the event of an emergency. They have received positive feedback from the community, other agencies, and the Attorney General on their programs and involvement as well. Other local agencies have even begun to adopt similar practices and programs. Overall, the department saw a decrease in major crimes like robberies, burglaries, and thefts in 2021 and an increase in community assistance in identifying and solving crimes. OPD is continuing to work with community members to bridge the gap with the police department and build upon the framework that was established over the past year.