Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne says it’s high time to honor the good work police do, and she’s challenging other North Texas mayors to do the same.
Mayor Van Duyne held a press conference on Aug. 19, at the Irving Convention Center to announce her new appreciation campaign called HIGH FIVE Irving 5-0, 5-0 representing an informal code some use for police. The program highlights the community relationship the Irving Police Department engenders as well as the trust officers build and the assistance they give to those in need. Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd, and numerous residents who have benefited from the outreach programs, including children, will attend.
“Most people don’t stop to think about all the good work our police provide each and every day. These are our neighbors, our protectors, and role models who help our children,” explains Van Duyne. “They have a difficult and dangerous job to do. I hope other North Texas Mayors will join us in expressing their gratitude and respect for the courageous officers who put their lives on the line every day they go to work.”
While police are known for addressing crime, much of what they do involves building community trust through their numerous outreach programs.
Irving is particularly active. Last year alone, the Irving Police Athletic League, or PAL, worked with more than 700 kids to help build self-esteem, discipline and mental courage. The PAL program includes police volunteers who participate in a number of activities with youth, including wrestling, baseball, camping, kayaking, fishing and mountain biking.
“We want the community to feel comfortable talking to us so we start with our youth,” said Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd. “Many of our PAL kids need adult guidance and we want them to know police officers are here for them. As they grow up and have families themselves, if they trust us, they’ll be less apt to go astray and more inclined to report trouble when they see it. It’s a win-win for both of us.”
Irving’s Rape Aggression Defense Systems (R.A.D.) is the largest program in North Texas. The program is for women only; girls as young as 11 can participate. The course is taught by Irving police officers who are nationally certified R.A.D. instructors.
“Our goal is to teach women realistic self-defense tactics and techniques as well as risk reduction, awareness and avoidance of danger,” said Chief Boyd. “Police training staff includes bilingual speakers because it’s very important to us to include everyone in the community.”
These are just two of the scores of outreach programs Irving fosters.
“These officers are to be revered,” said Van Duyne. “They do phenomenal work. And I firmly believe we all need to show our appreciation by high-fiving the 5-0 for all the heart and effort they put into making our communities safer and the many volunteer hours they give our children.”