The EPS Picnic in the Park on August 20, 2017, provided a unique opportunity to showcase 125 years of policing in Edmonton, and for the public to interact with police in more casual setting.
There were family activities, games, hot dogs, prize draws, entertainment, as well as displays from EPS specialized units such as Air One, Tactical, Canine, Traffic, and Crime Scenes Investigation (CSI).
Sometimes people feel uneasy around police, but crowds gathered for selfies with officers, new and old police vehicles, and the popular EPS mascot Barney the Bear.
Children of all ages took part in the Emergency Vehicle Operation Course and the Officer Skills Challenge, and some preschool officers-in-training showed up in their own police uniforms ready for action.
It was ‘Back to the Future’ when EPS Recruit Training Class #140 challenged kids to an old-fashioned tug of war and sack race, and to follow in the footsteps of Canada’s first Indigenous police officer and Olympian in the Constable Alex Decoteau Dash.
Much like other picnics and get-togethers, it featured toe-tapping music. Performers included: Adrian LaChance; the Running Thunder Dancers and Drummers; Sangea Academy West African Drumming and Dancing; the Mojave Iguanas; Hailey Benedict; the EPS Pipes and Drums; and the EPS officer band New Routes.
The picnic concluded with the take-off and fly-by of the Air One helicopter to the cheers and waves of the crowd, who shared their enthusiasm and appreciation on social media.
“Throughout our anniversary celebrations we’ve seen an outpouring of appreciation and support from the community that we’re truly thankful for,” said Chief Knecht. “There’s a sense of pride in what we’ve accomplished together and where we’re going as a police service.”
The Picnic in the Park would not have been possible without the generous support of the Edmonton Police Foundation.
Karla Schell, Executive Director of the Edmonton Police Foundation, added, “Police play a vital role in our community every day, but when you consider the impact a police officer has on a child’s life simply by playing with them, it’s clear that an event like this is an investment in the future.”