“It was just something me, the fire chief and EMS director had talked about and wanted to do,” said Oxford police Chief Bill Partridge. “It’s about community relations. A way for people to get acquainted with us.”
Partridge said the Police Department brought along “day-to-day” equipment, including its armored rescue vehicle and mobile command center, to display alongside EMS’ ambulances and the Fire Department’s fire trucks.
“We got some expensive toys,” said Oxford Fire Chief Gary Sparks, pointing out the various fire trucks with price tags in the $100,000 range. “This is a great way for people to see exactly what their tax dollars are for.”
At least among the crowd at the mall Thursday, the “toys” were a hit for Oxford residents, especially the younger ones.
“He’s been talking about this all day,” said Carolyn Jennings about her 3-year-old son, Ethan. “We told him we were coming and he’s been excited all day.”
Oxford resident Heather McCoy said her son, Justin, 3, couldn’t wait to see the trucks when they pulled up to the mall parking lot.
When asked if his favorite part of the event were the fire trucks, Justin, wearing a plastic red fire chief hat let out a loud, “yessir.”
While the Fire Department was winning over the young crowd, the slightly older children at the event seemed to be more drawn to the Police Department’s array of gadgets. Having seen the event while at the mall, Rachel Smith said her 9-year-old son Eli was won over by the department’s array of technology.
“He was fascinated with the police stuff and the robotics,” Smith said, referring to the explosive-device assisting machines. “He thought that was really cool.”
Oxford police Lt. L.G. Owens said the agencies involved might make the public display of emergency and law enforcement gear a regularly scheduled event.
Star staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.