I have always been appreciative of police officers and the work they do to keep us safe and secure. But I don’t think I had ever had an experience where I got to see firsthand how they use their skills to make sure we are safe while at the same time keeping a situation calm and orderly – until Wednesday night.
I was taking my son from our home in Lakewood to the Grebow Shopping Plaza to receive a prize from Mishkan Yosef for the hard work my child put in over Purim raising funds for the organization. He deserved the prize we were going to get.
Upon arriving near the shopping plaza, I was struck by the beauty of it all. It wasn’t just a few kids straggling in to get a prize – there were hundreds and hundreds of children streaming in just as we were! Unfortunately, this was causing really bad traffic issues in the area and was forcing people – ourselves included – to park on the opposite side of the roadway just to be able to get to the shopping plaza.
Just as we arrived, so did Howell police officers, who appeared stunned themselves by the number of people heading to the plaza, which is busy even on a “quiet day.”
The officers kindly informed us that they would need to discuss the situation with the organizers of the giveaway because people were being placed at risk of getting severely hurt as they tried crossing the 9 on foot to get to the shopping plaza.
Some people were upset over the situation – they had traveled out here only to be turned away. I wasn’t and my son wasn’t because we recognized how they were simply looking out for our safety. Of course it was upsetting to be turned away for a short while, but is that worse than losing your life? Of course not.
Despite the stress that came along with their need to temporarily shut down the event, every police officer we encountered was kind, respectful, and carried themselves with the utmost professionalism and respect. I didn’t feel targeted or harassed; I felt cared for.
I wanted to use this opportunity to thank those police officers and the officers from the Howell Police Department for ensuring that we were safe, our children were safe, and that the prize giveaway could go on without the risk of somewhat chas v’shalom getting hit by a car.
A grateful Lakewood parent