The Marion Police Department announced a new campaign on Thursday to help keep residents in need cool during extreme heat.
There is an excessive heat warning in effect for the Marion area through 8 p.m. Saturday night.
Temperatures will be in the 90s through Saturday with the heat index expected to reach as high as 112 on Friday and Saturday.
Chief Bill Collins wanted to find another way to serve those in our community who do not have access to air conditioning or other types of cooling equipment during these dangerous heat spikes.
He tasked his staff with finding a way to get help to those who need a way to cool down in the coming days.
“This is our MPACT ideology in action,” said Chief Collins. “MPACT is Marion Police AND Community Together and this program is the platform from which we showcase the great importance we place on police/citizen relationships each and every day.”
The MPACT Program reached out to some key community partners in Lowe’s and Wal-Mart and asked if they would join forces to bring some cooling relief to the people of Marion.
Both businesses offered support for the campaign.
Wal-Mart provided the police department with a $100 gift card toward the purchase of 20 fans.
Lowe’s provided an approximate $200 discount toward the purchase of 40 fans and donated over 2,100 bottles of water to the police department to disseminate to people in need during this heat emergency.
The MPACT Program will be working in the community in the coming days to identify homes that lack proper air conditioning or alternative cooling systems and officers will be donating a fan and bottled water to people who need them.
“When we need something, this community just steps up time and again,” said Collins. “When you are out there doing good things, people want to help, businesses like these want to participate. We appreciate their commitment to these great programs while we also recognize that we simply could not accomplish work on this scale without people like Lowe’s and Wal-Mart.”
As with most previous summers, the police department has seen that the call load tends to trend upward with the rising heat.
Increased heat can sometimes result in an increase of hostilities as well.
The MPACT Program comes from a balanced approach that continually seeks to resolve the pressing conflict and crime that occurs in any city this size, while also implementing these additional strategies that seek to forge strong ties in the community.
“The police department has arrested some dangerous criminals on some very serious crimes this week. It is a great credit to the 55 men and women tasked with keeping this city safe that we can invest such a significant amount of time and energy into conducting these complex investigations and before even taking a breath, we ask, ‘what else can we do for our community,’” said Lt. B.J. Gruber of the Marion Police Dept.
Collins acknowledges that much of what the MPACT Program accomplishes each day could traditionally be seen as operating outside the purview of typical law enforcement responsibilities. “That is by design,” says Chief Collins.
“We have created some excellent programs that are intended to take the citizen/police relationship to the next level from Hotdogs and Heroes to Chillin’ Pops with Cops and everything in between. It’s amazing to see the incredible ways that we have very intentionally built trust, created transparency and really just solidified meaningful relationships with the citizens we serve.”
Relationships of this nature are very important as the Marion Police Department recognizes that trust is an essential commodity when we seek information from the community that is essential to solving serious crimes.
“We have seen the increase in community engagement, not just from our side but on the part of the community as well,” said Chief Collins. “When your community trusts you and they believe in what you are doing they are more likely to call you and provide you with information that could be critical to solving crimes much like those we were dealing with this week.”
MPD Officers will be looking for homes in need of fans in the coming days while also providing cool bottled water to those who are outdoors and at greater risk of heat-related sickness or injury. Also, please remember your four-legged friends during this time and ensure that they have needed shade, shelter and water