Cops! Run!–Or Don’t?


Katherine Bernier, Staff Writer

Somehow you find yourself in a risky situation–you’re at a party, and you see those familiar red and blue lights flashing. Now you’re thinking, “What should I do?” Your first reaction may be to run from the police–you certainly do not want any legal trouble, and you notice other people starting to scatter. However, here’s some breaking news–you actually shouldn’t run away.

Responding to teen parties is a mandated policy within the Scituate Police Department. As Officer Sarah Arseneau puts it, “The police are safe people,” and they want kids to be aware of this. By running away from a party, you only increase the chances of getting into legal trouble by not cooperating with an officer. According to Arseneau, if you are honest and respectful with the officers, they will most likely call your parents and make sure you get home safely.

Scituate Police Chief Michael Stewart and Officer Arseneau recently shared their concerns about teen parties: They don’t want to get minors in trouble; they are more concerned with safety. Most importantly, don’t want any kids to separate from each other, so even if you do choose to run, stick with buddies at all times. The risks of wandering off are too high, and no one should experience serious injury or even death. As Arseneau stated, the police were once teens, too: “We all lived our lives and made our mistakes.” Arseneau made it clear–the police simply want teenagers to be safe.

The Scituate police department wants to maintain a good relationship with the community, which is not always easy. Stewart said there is a difficult balance of being a neighbor but also a police officer. To cultivate stronger relationships with students, a shift officer visits one of the public schools every day. This program started about 3-4 years ago. Stewart said officers initially saw these visits as an extra task, but as they adjusted to the routine, they grew to love it.

Members of the police force enjoy the interactions, especially with elementary school students, as they walk around lunch lines, high-fiving kids. The department wants to normalize seeing a police officer from a young age. So, if there is ever an emergency, no one is afraid of the police. No matter the age, whether an 18-year-old or a 7-year-old, the department does not want anyone to be frightened of the police. Instead, they want to be seen as safe people. The efforts officers are making to bond with the community and the kids in the community will hopefully result in more positive police-citizen interactions.

While you may still break a sweat if you are pulled over, remember that in dangerous situations, an officer is there to help. Police Officers were teenagers once, and they made mistakes, too. So, try to overcome the initial intimidation and remember that an officer wants to help you stay safe.