Members of the Gardner Police Advisory Committee met with James Pruetting, Gardner police chief March 15. Meetings are at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month in the Gardner council chambers. Meetings are open to the public. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz

Updating and improving the police department webpage content, and additional youth outreach, was discussed by members of the Gardner’s police advisory committee March 15.
Possible contents of a separate web page for the Gardner Police Department were reviewed. General information could be highlighted, such as: the GPD has 37 officers protecting the city 24 hours per day.
The webpage could also include a message from James Pruetting, Gardner police chief, as well as information on the crime map, bike patrol, animal control, K-9 unit, how to report suspected narcotic activity, patrol information, crosswalk safety tips and the citizens academy.
Members also discussed how to enhance community outreach through an “Explorers” program for area youths. The goal of youth programs would be to increase awareness and interest in police operations and law enforcement.
According to the Law Enforcement Exploring guide, Explorer posts date back to about 1959 in Southern California and spread thru the 70’s and 90’s.
The primary mission of Explorers, as stated in the handbook, is to gain exposure to various criminal justice careers, obtain “hands on” experience of the criminal justice system; receive career- focused training; benefit from interpersonal growth through teamwork, challenging experience and high standards of personal performance and standards; improve physical and mental fitness; learn responsibility of self and others thru leadership; and service thru assisting their sponsoring agency.
The guidebook also outlines organization and guidelines for the Explorer group and sponsoring agency as well as how to recruit and retain youth members.
The police advisory committee was formed by ordinance in November, 2015, with the mission to “work to improve and foster understanding and communication between the police and Gardner community.”
Members of the committee include: Rich Melton, ex-officio councilmember; Jennifer Schumaker, Steve Quigg, Amy Williamsen, Norm Schutte, Kacy Dale and Walter Hermreck.
The next meeting will be April 19.