Dublin Borough Backing the Blue

Police officers carrying riot shields with batons held at their sides have become the new normal in media since the death of George Floyd. In Dublin however, the borough’s police department is working to earn the community’s trust and support on every call. Over the summer, political movements such as “back the blue” and “all cops are bad” (ACAB) have divided the nation into two and left many questioning who they can call on when we need help.

“Overall outlook on police has declined,” said Nicholas Swinehart, an officer at the Dublin Borough Police Department. In the Dublin community, long-term residents continue to support both the Dublin and state police departments which are located on either end of the small borough. The Dublin police station is not a 24-hour department and 99 percent of the time, shifts are one person. Because of this, the Dublin officers rely on the community for support as much as the community relies on them. “The support of the community is what will make or break you,” said Officer Swinehart. If there was an officer alone at a scene that needed backup, it would likely be community members that call for the backup in an event of an emergency.

Dublin Borough Police Department

Both Officer Swinehart and Sergeant Kirk shared admiration for police officers early on. “at an early age I began interacting with emergency services” said William Kirk, sergeant of the Dublin Borough Police Department. When hiring new officers, the department focuses on finding officers that are community-centered and are the best fit for the one-person shifts, yet those who are able to work in collaborative work environments with other officers. “Mental fortitude is an important personality trait of successful officers” commented Officer Swinehart. “Routine is a common misconception in police work”. All officers at the Dublin Borough Department are trained to adapt to different calls, “One day you could be dispatched to a barking dog complaint then the next day dispatched to a car accident”. Positive thinking is another important attribute of successful officers in the Dublin Borough. Sergeant Kirk stated, “it is important to not dwell on events in or outside of the job and come in positive regardless of outside environments”.

Covid-19 protocols have impacted all community outreach events in Dublin. During the height of the pandemic, some officers continued reaching out by volunteering at the local food bank and delivering the food to the doors of people in need. Prior to the pandemic, Dublin hosted a community day and holiday gathering where police would attend and interact with community members from all age groups. Over 15 years ago, Dublin had an ambulance vehicle within the fire station which would arrive at the scene with officers. Since that vehicle was removed, the Dublin police now arrive on the scene before ambulances. During the pandemic, these medical calls had to be reassessed to figure out how to respond in accordance with Covid-19 protocols. All officers within the borough were trained on how to protect themselves from possible infection. This being said, Officer Swinehart emphasized that when the police arrive on the scene, they intend to complete their job. In some cases, emergencies come before covid protocols.