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Local News

Sheriff's Deputies Bring Birthday Wishes.

Summit County Sheriff's Department

The Summit County Sheriff’s Department is finding ways to provide community centric policing during a time when many residents are feeling isolated and distant from friends and neighbors.

Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez throws credit to his Lieutenant Andrew Wright for suggesting the Happy Birthday drive-by program.  Wright discovered it while looking at different outreach efforts from other sheriff’s departments around the state. Martinez says whenever you ask a child how old they are, they know down to the month and day, and he says a birthday is an important milestone for children.

"We’ve asked them to send us a Facebook message or call the number and we will go out to their house. And what we've been doing is you get about two deputies, sometimes on a motorcycle, if we have a motorcycle available. We get some balloons and we get a little Hostess cupcake and just some stickers and badges and a big white board with their name on it. It says happy birthday and we give them a time that we're going to show up and we really try to make a big deal. We turn on all the lights, all of our sirens and get on the PA and wish this person a happy birthday.”

As of last week, Sheriff Martinez says they had about 50 bookings and they’ve been able to do about five Happy Birthday drive-by visits a day.

“And, the funny thing is Carolyn, it’s not just for the kids. We've had a lot of adults that have wanted this, I guess you would say, service which was to come out and wish them a happy birthday. So, it's ranged the gamut from very young to very mature and it's been wildly successful."

Martinez says it’s a great opportunity to connect with the community in a positive way.

“It puts them in the neighborhood to do a patrol. So, they are utilizing the opportunity to wish somebody happy birthday to really make that a big deal for that person, to make them feel special. When they go, they just don't go back to patrolling parking lots, they’re actually still in the community letting residents know that we're there keeping them safe beyond serving and protecting.”

The Sheriff’s Department will be able to respond to requests if they are not engaged in urgent law enforcement. You can find the link to the Summit County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page on KPCW.org