Jumping into Community Engagement

Posted by: Hannah Haydock - September 14, 2017

Community engagement touches the core of Delt values, so it is no surprise to find Officer Lee Colegrove (Kent State University, 1986) of the Strongsville Police Department in Ohio offer a small act of kindness. A video of his actions went viral and spread further than he expected.

As he was making his normal rounds one afternoon, he went to the local elementary school to interact with the kids. On this afternoon, one little girl asked Officer Colegrove to jump rope with her, and he happily obliged.

A mother saw the interaction and was quick to record a video on her smartphone. From there, the video made it back to the police chief and was even picked up by a local news station.

After viewing the video on the news, Robert Shrefler (Kent State University, 1986) said, “Makes me proud to call him my friend and brother.”

“I don’t know why this has gotten the reaction it has. I’ve always been a fan of going and hanging out with the kids,” Colegrove said. “I just didn’t expect it to be that big of a deal. I was doing what I always do.”

The Strongsville Police Department has always had a policy of community policing and encouraging officers to go out and be a part of their community, so seeing an officer out playing with the children is not a rare sight.

“It’s not a program we work through, engaging in our community is just our philosophy,” Colegrove said.

Colegrove focuses on putting himself out there and getting to know the people and what they’re thinking and addressing their concerns. He works as a crime prevention officer, so he also visits home owners’ associations and different organizations to put on presentations and talk about general safety.

“This just shows a more promising aspect of policing. With all the negatives in the media this just shines a more positive light,” Colegrove said.