A tour group sits in the Ithaca Police briefing room and learns how officers prepare for their shift.

ITHACA, N.Y. — More than 100 people attended the Ithaca Police Department’s first open house Saturday morning where they toured the station, met officers, and learned about community outreach programs.

“I personally felt like there’s been a disconnect in our community for a long time,” Police Chief John Barber said.”I want members of the community to know the officers behind the badges.”

He said community members he meets with regularly about local issues worked with officers to help coordinate the event — staffing tables with information and handing out drinks or balloons.

Barber said questions from the community ran the gamut from being lighthearted conversations to concerns in the community to information about community outreach. He said those are the conversations the department wanted to get started at the event.

“I’m trying to change perceptions,” he said.

For more photos from today’s event, visit the Ithaca Police Department Facebook page.

Chief John Barber talks with 7-year-old Amanda Beierle and Kristin Beierle in the mobile command center on display at the police station Saturday morning.
Officer Robert Dupay shows 4-year-old Arcadia Smith a balloon holding robot.
Sgt. John Joly talks to Neil Oolie about the citizens police academy
Officer Pat Kimmich tells a group of people about the police department’s K-9 unit dog Bert.
Officer Pat Kimmich tells a group of people about the police department’s K-9 unit dog Bert.
K9 Bert is pet by Brenda Joly and her sons 2-year-old Gavin and 4-year-old Nicholas.
Sgt. Robert Brotherton gives a tour group a look at Chief John Barber’s office.
Sgt. Robert Brotherton gives a tour group a look at Chief John Barber’s office.
A tour group checks out the six holding cells at the police station.
Alexander Straight, 2, locked himself in a jail cell during a tour of the station.
A tour group sits in the Ithaca Police briefing room and learns how officers prepare for their shift.
Peter Straight and his sons Zachariah, 6, and Alexander, 2, look at a display of old police relics, including 1890s leg irons, a 1930s gun belt and a 1930s .38.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.