By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT — Those in town for Yankee Homecoming, longtime residents or anyone interested in the inner workings of a municipal police department will have an opportunity to do so on Saturday as the Newburyport Police Department will be opening its doors — and jail cells, for that matter — during its annual open house.
Like past years, the four-hour event will give visitors a chance to check out the department’s fleet of cruisers, special operation vehicles, garages, offices, jail cells and just about anything else. Officers, dispatchers and civilians will be on hand to greet and serve all those who come through the front door.
Youngsters will enjoy free pizza, slushes, balloons, temporary Newburyport Police Department tattoos, coloring books, badges and other police-related souvenirs. They may even be able to hop on one of the department’s mountain bikes, slide into a cruiser or sit on the squad’s motorcycle.
For older folks, police volunteers will offer tours of the station, which can fill up quickly, so visitors are encouraged to arrive early.
Inspector Matt Simons said that the open house is among the department’s most important community outreach opportunities.
“It allows people to know we’re human and not just writing tickets or locking up bad guys,” Simons said.
Fellow inspector Charles Eaton said he looks forward to the open houses each year, calling them just as exciting for officers as they are for attendees.
“This is the fun stuff,” Eaton said.
Saturday’s open house will allow the department to unveil another community outreach tool, this one based in cyberspace — a new free Android or iPhone phone app via MyPD.
According to police, the app has 24 possible features and options. Some of the features include department contacts, push notifications, feedback and tip forms, as well as options to retrieve information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service and the National Terror Advisory System. Other uses include links for wanted persons, videos, sex offenders and blog posts.
The advertisement-free app can be downloaded by searching for My Police Department or MyPD in the iPhone or Android marketplace. Once downloaded, you simply navigate to Newburyport Police.
“This police app is a great addition to our agency,” Simons said. “We can now push out notifications and alerts and the public has a variety of ways to contact us. The goal of our MyPD app is to give our public a one-stop app option with plenty of features and to open the lines of communication.”
More app information can be found on the Newburyport Police Facebook page and the MyPD police app website, http://MyPDapp.com. Anyone with questions about Saturday’s open house can contact Simons at the police station at 978-462-4411.