PARKERSBURG - Children from the neighborhood around the Parkersburg Police Department substation on 13th Street were greeted by Santa Claus and treats on Saturday.
About two dozen children told the jolly elf their last-minute Christmas wishes during the substation's holiday party that included refreshments.
"This party was put on by our new volunteers for the community," said Patrolman T.R. Worstell, the department's designated Community Oriented Police Enforcement officer. "They are really wonderful and want the community to be comfortable with the substation."
Photo by Jolene Craig
Alayna Liebau, 6, of Parkersburg, sits on Santa’s lap Saturday afternoon during the Christmas party at the Parkersburg Police Department substation at 401A 13th St. in Parkersburg.
There are about 10 volunteers with the substation at 401A 13th St., which Worstell called a "slow process"
"It has taken a while to get things going, but it is really starting to work," he said.
Worstell said the background checks on people who applied to be volunteers took a great deal of time before the substation could really begin to work.
"We had so many people volunteer and we appreciate their hard work," he added.
Many of those volunteers were present Saturday to give out candy canes, take photos of the children with Santa Claus and offer a variety of refreshments.
"We want all of the kids in the neighborhood to come and see Santa and get into the holiday spirit with the Parkersburg Police Department," Worstell said.
The Christmas party was the first of many events planned at the facility, as staffing becomes more solid.
Police Chief Joe Martin said the support from the residents has been "tremendous."
"I hope this is the beginning of bigger and better things to come for the neighborhood and community," he said.
The volunteers maintain a presence at the substation from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. each week day with community members encouraged to go to them for non-emergency law enforcement needs.
"Getting more community involvement can only help the neighborhood grow," Martin said.
The substation was designed to serve the neighborhoods in the area of Ann and Latrobe streets and 19th and Seventh streets.
"The most important thing is community involvement and by having the substations open to the community, like this party, does help," Martin said.