Pennridge Regional police thanked for special needs open house

WEST ROCKHILL >> For the third year in a row, the Pennridge Regional Police Department hosted a special needs open house.

The event gives persons with intellectual disabilities a chance to tour the station and meet the officers, Barry Johnston, BARC Developmental Services’ director of quality resources, said.

“This year, we really went all out,” Johnston said.

Students from the Bucks County Intermediate Unit and adults from BARC took part in the open house, which included a chance for the participants to see a fire truck and operate the fire hose; face and hand painting by Pennridge Regional police Chief Rodney Blake’s daughter’s softball team; tours of the station; a chance for participants to turn on a police car’s lights; and the opportunity to interact with Pennridge Regional police officers and a Perkasie police officer and his police dog partner, Johnston said in presenting the Pennridge Regional Police Department with a plaque thanking it for the open house.

“Every year we try to add to the event,” Blake said.

When it started, it was just an open house, he said.

“That open house was supposed to have a fire truck here,” Blake said. “We watched the fire truck go past on Ridge Road to [Route] 309 to a crash, so we didn’t have the fire truck that day.”

Along with having the fire truck this year, the participants had a chance to see police gear on display and to be taken, in groups of three or four, on a station tour, he said.

“They get to ask questions,” Blake said, “feel a badge and put a bulletproof vest on and things like that.”

After finishing the tour of the police station, the participants went outside to the fire truck, fire police vehicle and police car, he said.

“It’s a really neat community outreach,” Blake said.