The Lilburn Police Department’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the community and promote a safe, secure environment, resolve problems, preserve the peace and uphold the law. Under the leadership of Police Chief Bruce Hedley, that mission is embraced throughout the department, from officers on the streets to office personnel at agency headquarters. Beyond their sworn duty, they must be contributing partners within the community. Active participation and partnership with various community organizations establishes a rapport that’s critical for building trusting relationships.
The City of Lilburn has encouraged its officers to get out of their cars, go into a church, mosque or community center, and talk to people. Officers usually find a warm welcome and often learn something new about the people they serve. The citizens also learn more about the police officers, beginning new relationships with a smile and a handshake.
A cornerstone of the Lilburn Police Department’s mission, aside from the day-to-day task of policing, stems from community engagement programs they’ve implemented. Cpl. Mike Johnson, the community engagement coordinator, oversees these programs.
Last year, Johnson and other LPD personnel presented more than 44 safety meetings at churches, senior living centers and other gatherings. They’ve hosted countless blood drives, performed child seat safety checks and appeared at events, such as Lilburn’s National Night Out, where they engage with the community and address their concerns appropriately.
“We have been able to solve many issues before they become bigger,” Johnson said. “We pass information that is directly from the police department to the citizens. Let’s face it. Police officers can’t be everywhere all the time. The neighborhood watch and business watch programs look out for suspicious activity and report that activity before a crime can occur. We have cook-outs and share information on recent crime trends. We visit all local schools (public and private), providing information and meeting with kids and parents to discuss safety-related issues. It has been a great experience for all our officers!”
Given the current political climate, “Active Shooter Response” presentations and talks continue to be a steady draw, especially given the tragedy in Uvalde during the spring of the 2022 school year.
Johnson said, “There was a helicopter from Georgia State Patrol, robots from the Gwinnett County EOD Bomb squad, SWAT vehicles and Gwinnett Fire Services. Parents got to come out with their children, see and interact with police officers and see the vehicles up close and in person while gaining valuable safety information. It’s a fun day at work for all, and the community response is excellent, which is a rewarding part of being a police officer.”
LPD strives to serve its community inclusively, understanding ethnic and cultural differences. To that end, we make concerted efforts to reach all sectors of the community, from safety presentations at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple to guest appearances on Energia Auditiva Radio, a Hispanic radio station in Norcross.
Simply put, the Lilburn Police Department’s community engagement simplifies its mission, makes it more obtainable and instills trust in its residents.