CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Coyle Free Library has been a part of the Chambersburg community for 125 years. It boasts being a library of the 21st century, and now it’s part of policing in the 21st century.
“Just sort of come in and walk around and see how things are going,” library director Denice Bigham said. “Talk to staff. Talk to the patrons who are hanging out here and just start to get to know people.”
Community policing is becoming a new and necessary aspect of police work.
“It’s basically just to give them an opportunity to reach out to us in a different way than calling the police or calling 911,” Chambersburg police Patrolman Richard Sleichter said.
Community policing is an opportunity for people to ask questions.
“We’re giving them the opportunity to come to us and talk to us about anything,” Sleichter said.
It’s also an opportunity to see officers as people.
“A lot of people look at us as just hammers; we’re just out to arrest you for anything, we’re looking for you all the time,” Sleichter said. “We’re just people, just like everybody else.”
Community policing is an opportunity to see officers as the good guys.
Recent events like the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore police custody have put officers as a whole in a negative light. Chambersburg police are trying to change the story, starting at the library.
“I think this is a way for us to reach out and show people that just because you have a bad incident, don’t label us all as bad,” Sleichter said. “Realize we’re here to protect you and to serve you and come to us if you need us.”