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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
With a long history of youth outreach efforts, the Redlands (CA) Police Department (RPD) has consistently sought ways to create resilient youth and promote public trust by providing opportunities for young members of the community to positively interact with law enforcement. RPD officers can often be seen engaging youth at various events throughout the year, including bicycle safety expositions, leadership conferences, Christmas block parties and parades, midnight basketball games at the Recreation Center, and even tailgate parties at the local college football games. The goal of each event is to provide youth with an experience that will help generate a spirit of cooperation between law enforcement and the future generations of Redlands residents and business owners. To that end, it comes as no surprise to many in the community that the RPD recently partnered with The Literacy Club and Hangar 24 Charities to create the first-ever police department mobile book trailer that is officially registered as a Little Free Library.
During a police department meeting in which staff discussed strategies to further connect with youth in the community, Chief Mark A. Garcia proposed the idea of creating a bookmobile that members of the RPD could take to various events around town to give children the opportunity to enhance their reading skills, while also creating a positive environment for police-youth interaction. The Community Policing Bureau offered to spearhead the project. Officer Chris Mead contacted Hangar 24 Charities, who agreed to completely fund the building of the project. A design team consisting of representatives from the RPD, Hangar 24 Charities, and The Literacy Club designed an enclosed trailer that could be transformed by a printed covering into a mobile book plane with features similar to the RPD’s fixed-wing police aircraft. The aeronautical theme of the mobile book plane also correlated well with the interests of Hangar 24 Charities, as they hold an Airfest each year. The design team purchased a fully enclosed trailer and completely outfitted it with bookshelves to resemble the interior of a plane. The Literacy Club even constructed a mobile book cart in the shape of a plane that can be used to display books near the book plane. Tables in the shape of wings were built to attach to the bookmobile, offering children a place to easily sit down and read.
With over a thousand new books on the shelves (all supplied by The Literacy Club), the mobile book plane made its maiden voyage at the Fifth Annual Redlands Hangar 24 AirFest, where over a thousand children eagerly raced into the book aircraft, interacted with law enforcement, and flew away with a new book they could take home. With the generous donations of Hangar 24 Charities and The Literacy Club, coupled with the creativity of the design team, the RPD now has another instrument with which they can positively engage the children in the community for years to come.
Lt. Travis Martinez
Redlands Police Department
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