The Fourth of July weekend is one of the busiest weekends of the year in Lake Placid and there were plenty of visitors in town enjoying the area. With that in mind, it’s a good time to applaud the efforts of the Lake Placid Village Police Department.
Most people connect the police with issuing tickets and forget they wear several hats, especially when the village is bustling with activity.
During the Lake Placid Marathon, they were at the intersection of state Route 73 and 86 not just directing traffic, but handing out maps and giving directions to motorists who were unfamiliar with the detours and road closures. Many motorists were able to find their way without getting lost as a result of the proactive actions of the police department.
During the Fourth of July parade police officers were out directing traffic and managing crowd flow so that everyone was able to safely enjoy the festivities. At the Lake Placid I Love BBQ Festival, the police department had a booth set up that was manned by police personnel. The booth allowed children to learn about what police officers do, and the department gave away crayons and coloring material.
And during the course of the year, the police department serves the community in other ways.
It hosts an annual bike rodeo geared to teach children about bicycle safety and obeying traffic laws, and at this event helmets are given away to promote safety. For the first year, village police attended the Arrive Alive campaign at the Lake Placid Middle High School designed to demonstrate the dangers of driving drunk. Lake Placid officers put students through a field sobriety test to underscore their message.
Village police also regularly attend the career day at the high school to enlighten those students who may be interested in a law enforcement career. Students can even sign up at the police department for a “ride along,” where they can actually ride with an officer so they can better understand what police work is like. For younger children, the department schedules Kid Care ID once a year.
Then there are public service presentations held by the department geared toward adults, , the next one being on “wheel safe,” and will discuss bicycle safety — a timely topic with so many cyclists on the road. A presentation about ID theft and a driver safety course that will allow attendees a driver’s license point and insurance rate reductions are also being scheduled by the police department.
Recently, the village board announced that the animal control officer position will be eliminated and its duties passed over to the police department. Yet another function added to the list of police-related duties.
And then there’s the late-night revelry that the police deal with on crowded weekends. Everyone wants to go out and have a good time, and sometimes this involves alcohol. Usually intoxicated individuals are not a public danger — unless they’re driving — and police officers are the ones who help make sure late-night partiers arrive home safely.
Let’s also give a shout out to the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Squad and Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department. It’s easy to forget that those folks are volunteers and many stop what they’re doing on a moment’s notice when a call goes over the scanner. Certainly, some of them were enjoying a holiday barbecue when they had to leave to answer a call for help. Hats off the all the volunteers who place service to community higher than their own enjoyment.
It’s easy to take for granted all the community service provide by the police department and other emergency service organizations within the Olympic Village or inaccurately deduce that the police force in Lake Placid is too large. So the next time you see a member of the police or fire departments or ambulance squad, keep this editorial in mind when you give them a “Job well done” message.