LIMA — Cadence Kelly stuck her head in the small hole and smiled. The 3-year-old's little sister, Kira, did the same. And for just a minute they joined the ranks of the original 1887 Lima Police Department.The sisters were two of many children and adults to get in the picture at Saturday's Lima Police Department open house at the Allen County Museum. The sisters also touched a glove worn by the police dive team, asking out loud if it were for a swimming pool.“I want to encourage them not to be afraid of the police, to be comfortable with the police,” mom Jene Frueh said. Saturday's event was a celebration of the department's 125th anniversary. It was also a history lesson. A slide show ran old pictures and newspaper clippings. Visitors looked at old uniforms, sirens, a 1986 Breathalyzer system, megaphones used in the 1950s and '60s, an original bulletproof vest and much more. “It is really an opportunity for people in our community to take a look at the aspects or services the Police Department provides that they otherwise would normally not get to look at,” Chief Kevin Martin said. A permanent display dedicated to the Police Department is now in the basement of the museum.The event was very much geared toward children. Martin said it is important to start building trust early on. “One of the things that troubles me more than anything else is when I see kids that are afraid of police,” he said. “If someone is trying to harm them or they need help for some reason they should be running to the police, not away from them.”Josh Young, 4, couldn't wait to run to a police officer and car. His elder sister, Allison, 7, took a turn at a laser shooting game. Her targets were pumpkins. Both were working on a scavenger hunt to earn a junior detective badge. The two came with their grandmother, Debi Black.“We do appreciate all the sacrifices that those people make,” she said. “It is a dangerous job. It is a good idea to understand more about their jobs so you can develop some sort of relationship.”Before heading out to see the police dog, 6-year-old Brendon Young did a 911 activity. Children ran through cones, getting a little winded, and then practiced making a 911 call. Mom Emily Young was glad to see the activity.“That is something we have been trying to teach him, and he was able to demonstrate that he knows his address,” she said. Jackson Donley, 15, spent a lot of time talking with a Special Weapons and Tactics team officer. He asked about the different weapons and even had the chance to pick up the 80-plus pound vest. It wasn't as easy as he thought.“It was pretty heavy,” he said. “I don't see how people can flat out sprint with that thing on. That would weigh me down.”While Saturday's event largely highlighted equipment and technology and other changes through the 125 years, Martin said he hoped people would remember what hasn't and shouldn't ever change. “The one thing that is still the same is this is still a people business,” he said. “It really is the officers interacting with community. That is still the most important part of policing and in my belief always will be.”
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.