Roop Sandhu is a police officer with a golden touch.
Watching with a smile as hundreds of children pour into the South Frontenac Public Works Yard in Sydenham for a rare chance to peer inside sophisticated equipment, Const.. Sandhu talks with pride about the special event he helped create last year dubbed Touch the Truck.
“It’s a combined effort between emergency services and the public works department,” explains Const. Sandhu, Media Relations Officer with South Frontenac OPP. “Representatives include the Frontenac paramedic and police services and South Frontenac Township Fire & Rescue and public works department; roughly 20 vehicles are on display.”
Standing beside Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth on May 10, Const. Sandhu credits the event’s success to Segsworth and his team who expanded the activity to include a charity barbecue.
“Everyone here is a volunteer, they’re on their own time,” says Segsworth proudly, gesturing to the men and women cooking food and manning township equipment. “We’re trying to put the public back into public works.”
Watching as dozens of children and families touch a fire truck, ambulance, police vehicles, boat, ATV and construction equipment, Segsworth notes with a grin, “It’s fantastic.”
Const. Sandhu echoes that sentiment.
“It’s good for us to get introduced to the community and for the community to get to know us,” he explains.
According to the men, an awareness campaign by emergency services was combined with a spring open house by the public works department two years ago. The end result was a popular evening in support of the United Way Success by Six Campaign.
“It’s pretty cool how much they have here,” says Megan Leavitt as she watches her children play in the cab of a township snowplow.
“This gives the kids an opportunity to touch the vehicles and see what’s inside,” adds Nicole Renaud of Sydenham. “They’re not as afraid.”
Pleased with the evening, Const. Sandhu admits this special event will be one of his last acts as the detachment’s Media Relations Officer, a role he has held for the past four years and ends this June.
“I’m going to miss all of the contacts I’ve made in the community,” he says fondly. “But it’s not like I’m going anywhere. I’m still with the detachment. I’m just in a different role.”
Reflecting on his achievements over the past four years, Const. Sandhu says he’s proud of his accomplishments with community mobilization, a push by police to be more involved in the community and connect people with the right resources.
“It’s been great meeting everyone,” he says kindly. “Police aren’t the answer for everything and it’s good to know about other community resources. That’s the direction policing is going. To get people the help they need.”