The day was originally developed in the East to celebrate St. Patricks Day, but has since been either dropped or not advertised as much. When it began many African American officers reported they were not invited to lunch, as were their co-workers.
It was then that Black Voice took up the mantle and invited an officer to lunch. Cliff Harris, of the San Bernardino Sheriffs Department was our first officer and we went to Moms Kitchen located on Park on the Eastside of Riverside.
The next year there were two, Harris and Jim Cannon. After that former UCR chief Bill Howe, Lee Wagner, Dr. Oliver Thompson, Alex Tortes and others were added.
It grew to about a steady five or six and then the community was invited to join in the celebration, the crowd grew more and more until we had to rent a room at the Hilton (now Marriott Hotel). It was very successful and popular with the community and the officers.
Then we found it was creating a problem for some officers who could not freely come out for the activity, one police chief we will not name would not let his officers attend and it was suspended for a time.
The climate is different now with the advent of community policing and the emphasis on getting to know the community you serve the command staff and the officers support the activity.
Recently several officers (25 people) attended a luncheon at the Downtown Supper Club. In a very relaxed setting discussions centered on how to deal with crime in our community and how to get more students interested in Law Enforcement.
Young officers listened to retired and season officers offers to mentor anyone who needed it. It was a very relaxing lunch and helped to bond some friendships and re-bond others.
Next year the event will be even more inclusive of other agencies.
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