Police host meet-and-greet with special needs residents

Hollister resident Tyler Brock, 17, talks to Hollister Police Officer Lupe Pompa at a Nov. 15 meet-and-greet at the city’s police department.

Hollister Police invited members of the local special-needs community to the police headquarters last month for a “meet-and-greet” to help the officers and residents get to know each other.

The Nov. 15 event was organized by Hollister resident and parent Brian Taylor, who attended with his son Spencer. About 15 special-needs residents and their families joined about half a dozen Hollister police officers for the meet-and-greet event.

“We wanted to bring officers and community members together so we can have some mutual understanding and get to know each other a little bit,” Taylor told the group. “This is a chance for officers and us to learn how to talk to each other.”

Taylor and other parents noted that disabled residents sometimes don’t respond as officers might expect to common communication efforts. Officer Lupe Pompa noted that the department can direct special-needs residents to resources in the community if they are in need of help or having an emergency.

One such resource is the San Andreas Regional Center, one of the parents noted at the Nov. 15 meet-and-greet.

After Pompa explained and demonstrated the different types of contact police officers might have with the residents if they encounter out in public, the group shared cookies and refreshments and continued to converse about the needs of the community.

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