A large part of community policing is establishing connections with those in the area. Local business owners, community figureheads, parents, and families are all important.
Officers who patrol the same area for a number of years do well to keep their finger on the pulse of their neighborhood. Doing that effectively means a mix of traditional policing and relationship building.
Herriman City, Utah, police officer Scott Lauritzen drove past a basketball court where he saw three kids shooting hoops.
Lauritzen was recently driving around in his patrol car when he saw three young boys shooting the ball around at the Cooper Creek Park basketball courts. He stopped his car and approached them.
But rather than ask them the kind of questions the public has come to expect from an officer unexpectedly getting out of his squad car, he asked if he could join their shootaround.
“Not only do they keep us safe, they also enjoy a game of hoops in the park from time to time too,” Herriman City said in a Facebook post.
Lauritzen has worked in Herriman city for 15 years, and has been the school resource officer at Herriman High School for the last five years.
“He is affectionately known as ‘Officer Scott’ throughout the community,” Herriman spokeswoman Tami Moody told KSL.com. “He is loved by the community and works so well with the youth in Herriman.”
A neighbor to the park captured a few still images of Lauritzen playfully attempting to block, steal, and play defense against the group of young kids. Lauritzen was completely unaware that a camera was pointed at him when he decided to interact with the kids.
The officer is nothing short of a celebrity in the town of 35,000 residents he works to help keep safe. The playful interaction between him and the kids at the park is further evidence of his commitment to the community.
As heartwarming as the interaction between the officer and children was, residents of Herriman were not surprised.
Residents of the city have come to expect great things from Officer Lauritzen. When images of him shooting hoops with a few kids first surfaced, they were met with delight, but not surprise.
“Officer Scott is such a blessing to the youth in Herriman. He truly cares and cheers for them!” said a commenter on Twitter.
“I absolutely love that officer! He’s an amazing man, as a community we’re lucky to have him,” said another comment on Facebook.
The pictures just go to show that policing isn’t always about chasing down bad guys— sometimes it’s about letting the locals know the police are there to serve them.
— Herriman City (@HerrimanCity) April 2, 2018