Community Engagement Trailer Bridges Gap Between Law Enforcement and Citizens

Over the past three months, a groundbreaking project has been brewing in Oliver Springs, initiated by a group of passionate individuals who saw a need for enhanced community engagement.  Here’s our own Brad Jones with more on what Oliver Springs is doing to bridge the gap.

The Oliver Springs Extreme Game Trailer is a Community Engagement Trailer, a mobile hub of fun and interaction designed to foster positive relationships between law enforcement officers and the citizens they serve.  We asked Police Chief David Laxton to explain the project to us.

“We brought the idea to the city manager and the mayor, we wanted to start a community engagement trailer.  We had seen ideas from other agencies and stuff like that that had done these, and Oliver Springs being real involved in youth, we had members of the community like VJ Murray that helped support us and we were able to get donations and put this together with the town and a lot of private vendors.

The vision was to create a platform where the community and kids alike could connect with local law enforcement in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.

“We have four gaming consoles with 4 TV’s inside, 1-Arcade machine inside, and then for the outdoor activities for it, we have soccer, we have baseball pitch, tells you your speed, we’ve got football and basketball games.”

The trailer boasts an array of activities aimed at engaging people of all ages. We asked Chief Laxton why the city wanted to do something like this?

“So, everyone keeps asking the question, ‘so what does the town do for its people? What does it do for the community?’ One of the big breakdowns between Law Enforcement and the community, officers just haven’t been around them as much anymore.  This kind of opens up that engagement where people can come up and talk to all my officers that are here, you know, engage with them, play games and have a good time and it be a happy atmosphere.”

Where will this be set up for the community to enjoy it?

“So, when we kind of talked about it, this is going to be something we use for all the community events and we’ve even talked to several surrounding cities, until they can get a program going like this, we offer it for that.  Just no private events.  If churches or the city is doing anything and they want us to come, invite us and we’ll bring it.”

The success of the project wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of various individuals and organizations within the community. Notable donors include Ace Hardware, Big Orange Tree Service, Chief Laxton and his family, along with VJ Murray. Their support has allowed the project to flourish, with plans for further expansion already in motion.

“When the chief talked with the mayor and the city manager, Cory Jenkins, my wife loved kids, and this makes them happy. I was on board all the way. We’ve already done one event at Beech Park Church, kids loved it, the officers they enjoyed being with those kids.” (VJ)

“We’ve had a few other people approach us wanting to further donate and get involved with it so it’s still going to continue to grow.” (Chief)

A recent offer to donate a fully equipped race car simulator exemplifies the project’s potential for growth and innovation. Moreover, by bringing certain event resources in-house, the project promises long-term sustainability, offering a cost-effective solution amidst rising inflation.

City Manager Cory Jenkins thanks the chief for the hard work in getting this project off the ground.

“First off, I just want to thank Chief Laxton’s work and his entire department.  Anything we can do community outreach wise that’s always going to be a plus when you’re trying to build a community.”

The Community Engagement Trailer stands as a testament to the power of community collaboration and innovation. As the trailer embarks on its journey across the city, it carries with it the promise of brighter, more connected communities for generations to come.

If you have questions about the outreach trailer attending your community event, contact Chief David Laxton in Oliver Springs for more information.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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