Shoppers at the Montgomery Mall had a bit of added security Saturday afternoon, as members of local police departments took over the main lobby for a National Law Enforcement Week community event.
The five-hour event featured multiple K-9 demonstrations by the Montgomery Township Police Department, tactical response demonstrations by North Penn and Montgomery County S.W.A.T. team members, and a variety of community outreach programs and services, including child safety and anti-bullying information.
In addition to the Montgomery Township Police Department, members of the Lower Gwynedd Police Department, the Volunteer Medical Service Corps of Lansdale, the Fire Department of Montgomery Township, and the United States Secret Service all participated in the event.
Officer Jim Matlack, of the Montgomery Township Police Department, was out once again, furthering his fingerprinting initiative.
"It's nice to be out, and this time I have help," said Matlack. "But this is just one event. We have a lot more coming up."
Matlack has become a familiar face throughout the Montgomeryville area, as he works to help add children to the fingerprint database. In the event that a child should go missing, or something else were to happen, Matlack said having a picture and fingerprints on record would be a tremendous help.
If your child has already participated in the fingerprinting initiative, no worries, as a variety of other displays were in place to keep both youth and adults entertained.
Multiple vehicles were on display, including a standard police cruiser and a highway patrol motorcycle. A large S.W.A.T. display featured the tactical equipment the unit frequently uses, and for good measure, a trio of Storm Troopers from Star Wars – really Garrison Carida, Darth Vader’s 501st legion, a charity-focused group led by volunteers who dress up like the famous characters – had a steady flow of shoppers waiting for their turns to have their pictures taken.
Six-year-old Jaime Dirkowitz, of Allentown, walking hand-in-hand with her father in the lobby, enjoyed one aspect of the event more than others.
"My favorite part was the puppy dogs. I got to pet the one, but the other one was sleeping," she said.
For Aaron Stevens, of Horsham, the event was a little more informative.
"I was thinking about becoming a cop, so it's really cool to get to talk to all the officers, and check out the special units," said Stevens, who is planning his next move after he finishes high school.
If you happened to miss the event, check out our photo gallery for all of Saturday's sights and displays.