Saco Police Officer Morgan Royle was featured in a winning video that showed her walking a residents’ dog as part of her role as a Community Resource Officer. The video earned the police department a $5,000 prize, which it intends to use to offer implicit bias training to police executives and community members across Maine. Andrew Dickinson/City of Saco Photo

SACO — A video showing Saco Police Officer Morgan Royle walking a dog for a resident who was unable to do so led to a contest entry and a win for Saco Police Department.

The win — that came as a result of community policing — will now lead to a training opportunity intended to bring people together.

The national contest called “Pay it Forward 2020,” sponsored by the crime scene and biohazard clean up company called Aftermath Services LLC, led to a $5,000 prize for the police agency —which also intends to pay it forward by offering some specialized training on implicit bias awareness to 30 police executives and community members across Maine.

Saco Police Chief Jack Clements and Maine Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Sauschuck announced the training program on Tuesday, June 23 at a news conference outside Saco Police Department as Mayor William Doyle, city councilors, City Administrator Bryan Kaenrath and others looked on.

Clements said he felt it would be shortsighted to use the cash award only for Saco, so got in touch with Sauschuck with an idea to provide training to others. Sauschuck agreed that the agency would participate.

Saco Police Chief Jack Clements talks about a new training opportunity he’s advancing to other Maine police executives and community members during a news conference on Tuesday, June 23. He developed the idea after the department won a $5,000 prize in a nationwide ‘Pay it Forward’ video contest sponsored by Aftermath Services LLC. Tammy Wells Photo

“Any time you get to train officers it’s a win,” said Sauschuck. He pointed out that Maine police officers receive training on bias on a number of levels, “but it’s important to get it in the forefront.”

In the video, Royle describes the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on her role as a School Resource Officer and how it morphed into a Community Resource Officer role. As part of that effort, she has been delivering meals to people aged 50 and older through Saco’s pandemic Friday lunch program, which is sponsored by local businesses and agencies and prepared by staff at local restaurants. While delivering to a wheelchair-bound client one day she asked if there was anything else she could do to help. The client said her usual dog walker was unavailable, and asked if Royle could do so. She did, and said she’s been dropping by to walk the dog a couple of times a week.

The Saco Police Department is exploring having the city’s two School Resource Officers fulfill the new Community Resource Officer role when school is not in session, in an effort to continue to build and enhance positive relationships with residents.

As well as the $5,000 check, Saco Police Department was also awarded 150 personal protective equipment kits.

As to the training, Clements said he got in touch with a company called Fair and Impartial Policing and is working on dates and details for a Command/Community training session.

The training includes what is known about human biases and provides guidance for promoting fair and impartial policing in the areas of policy, training, supervision and accountability, leadership, recruitment and hiring, outreach to diverse communities, and measurement, according to a company overview.

Clements said the training will be offered to 15 Maine police executives and 15 others, including community members interested in engaging in the exercise.

“Every community in Maine does community policing,” said Clements. “It is important we still work at doing community policing even better.”

People may view Saco’s winning entry, https://youtu.be/GuEJgsJmekE on the city’s YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/CityofSacoTV

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