Scores of D.C. residents lined up outside the Metropolitan Police Department’s 3rd District station for a rare opportunity to meet Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, then see him toppling into a dunking tank.
Of course, the chief took his dunks in stride as his officers gladly paid $5 each for their chance to hit a bull’s-eye with a ball and send him into the water. The proceeds were to go toward a fall awards banquet for officers of the 3rd District.
“If you ever want to get off nights, don’t do it,” he told one of his officers before getting drenched for the umpteenth time.
The daylong open house, celebrating the partnership between the Northwest community and the 3rd District, featured local bands, exhibitions, a moon bounce for children and lots of Special Operations Division vehicles parked along 17th Street. The public also was able to tour the station and enjoy a frosty strawberry, blueberry or lime snow cone.
“This type of event fosters camaraderie between the police and the community,” said Chief Ramsey, during a short break from the dunk tank. “It’s good for the officers who are having a great time. The kids are out having fun, and the seniors are having fun. It’s good all the way around.”
Officer Kim Tutt got an assist from Kiana Hill, 15, a member of the D.C. Fashion Idols.
Kiana poured the syrup onto the snow cones while Officer Tutt made sure there was no shortage of ice.
“This is a lot of fun, and it’s positive,” Kiana said. “Most people think the police just want to arrest people, but once you get to know them, you find out that they’re people, too.”
She was joined by her grandmother, Juanita Foust, of Northwest, who came out to enjoy the day with officers, their families and residents of the community.
“This is a really good idea,” Mrs. Foust said. “The public needs to know that the police are human, and they really want to help us in terms of trying to prevent crime before it starts.”
She is pleased Kiana joined the D.C. Fashion Idols, a mentoring program established by Inspector Diane Groomes earlier this year to address female gang issues throughout the city. The young ladies, 12 to 18 years old, participate in community-service projects, attend field trips, learn etiquette and how to dress tastefully for their age group.
“The program keeps us out of trouble,” Kiana said. “The officers track our report cards, and they’re like our surrogate parents.”
While the sounds of Danny Blew and the Blues Crew entertained the crowd, people consumed hot dogs, hamburgers and a special treat to accompany the day’s Hawaiian theme at the station — a succulent roasted pig.
“A lot of work goes into this event, which allows police officers and the community to interact,” said Linda Lancaster of Northwest.