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Meet and Greet: Parkersburg resource officer spends summer in park outreach

Nightlynn Greathouse, 6, waits for Officer Jeremy Pinkerton to open some bubbles for her Wednesday at City Park. Pinkerton is a school resource officer at Hamilton Middle School but spent his summer in area parks for community interaction. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg Police Officer Jeremy Pinkerton usually spends his time at Hamilton Middle School as the resource officer, where he will soon begin his fourth year at the school.

However, while school was out this summer he got to do some community interaction within area parks.

“We tried something new this year,” Police Chief Matthew Board said. “We have Officer Pinkerton, who is a school resource officer, and we thought we’d put him in the city parks. Not just the one on 23rd Street but all the city parks. Not so much in an enforcement capacity, you know the typical policeman out looking for violations, but just the added level of comfort people get from seeing a policeman.

“I really felt that Officer Pinkerton would be a perfect fit for that, and he has been,” Board said.

Pinkerton got to participate in the Wood County Recreation Commission’s Summer Adventures program while at City Park and was able to interact with the kids who ranged from kindergarten to fifth grade.

From left, Nightlynn Greathouse, 6, and Skyland Greathouse, 3, pose for a picture with Officer Jeremy Pinkerton Wednesday at City Park. Pinkerton is a school resource officer at Hamilton Middle School but spent his summer in area parks for community interaction. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

“Kids love to ask all kinds of questions,” Pinkerton said. “They checked my cruiser out, turned my lights and sirens on. I let them try my bullet proof vest on, which weighs more than some of them. It was funny, after I did that, which was a two-month program I did early on, everytime I would come through everyone would get distracted and see if it was me. Because I told them what my number (on the patrol car) was and to always come talk to me or say hi, and all of them would always turn and wave.”

Pinkerton said he played a little basketball at the courts, would walk up to the pond to see if any kids were catching some fish, but he didn’t limit his interactions to just kids.

“There’s a lot of adults that don’t typically call the police, or don’t have any interaction with the police, so there were a lot of people that would come up and ask questions, or tell me different concerns they had,” Pinkerton said. “Just simple concerns the average person that has no involvement or interactions with the police would have. It was a good opportunity to come say hi, or to wave to me.”

Pinkerton will return to his usual post at Hamilton Middle School next week but hopes he gets to do this again next summer.

“I hope I get the opportunity to come back next summer,” Pinkerton said. “I think we have a very strong community support just from speaking to people at the parks. Everybody was very appreciative and I received a bunch of thanks and praise.”

Douglass Huxley can be reached at dhuxley@newsandsentinel.com

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