On a daily basis, police officers are exposed to high calls for service and critical incidents that can in turn not only affect them, but their families. As a newly formed organization, the City of Dickinson Police Auxiliary is hoping to overcome that barrier.
President Jamie Klauzer and Treasurer Jennifer Moser along with three other board members and 15 to 20 members make up the City of Dickinson Police Auxiliary, which is open to sworn DPD officers’ family members, spouses or significant others. The organization recently held its first monthly meeting and is working toward acquiring its nonprofit status.
“I feel like it's always been an idea that we've thrown around over time. I think that there have been some other things, more informal groups that have been started that kind of come and go where we all got together and then it would kind of just be everybody would get busy and then it would kind of just dissolve,” Klauzer said. “So it's just something that we've always kind of thrown around that we should get an actual formal group together and I think we just started talking about it a lot more and more.”
Over the past month, the City of Dickinson Police Auxiliary kicked off a fundraiser with its DPD clothing apparel sale called “Community Behind the Badge” that goes through Monday, Oct. 18. The money raised will be used to support Dickinson Police officers in education, training, supplies, equipment, meals in times of need, police family events, employee retention, social community events and emotional support.
Klauzer noted that wives, significant others and immediate family members of Dickinson Police officers began brainstorming other ways to support officers’ families following last year’s DPD Christmas party by creating “a supportive connective community” within the police department.
“A little bit about police officers is they’re not the greatest communicators (right) after their shift is done,” Klauzer said, adding, “Lots of them want to come home (and) decompress. They don't want to talk about the work day (or) what's going on. So what we noticed was that passing on information to your families if there was things going on or things going on with other families, it would be a month later. (We’d) be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can't believe that that person went through that and we didn't send them anything.’”
For Moser, this organization will help incoming officers and their families become more acquainted with a new department, city and community.
“A lot of the families that come here they're from out of state, they're not necessarily from our direct community so they don't have a lot of family ties. So (by) just being that network for them to be like, ‘Hey, if you're going through something, you can reach out to us.’ Or... any kind of support to make them feel welcome, that's definitely our goal too,” Moser said.
From a wife and mother standpoint, Klauzer noted that if you’re not from the area, it can be an adjustment to become familiar with daycare services, who’s the best doctor in town, what restaurants are most popular or types of community events that take place.
“If you don't have that connection to other people that are able to welcome you into the community or make you a part of something, then you kind of get lost in the mix and then you end up in your own little bubble,” Klauzer said, adding, “And then I think that's where we see maybe officers leaving. So that was another point of our whole group is, you know to retain good officers and their families here to make them part of a community and a support so we're able to maintain them here, that they fall in love with the community that we all love so much and being able to give back and support those families in any way.”
The DPD support group would also help with emotional support with families, she added.
“It’s a really hard job that police officers do every day and I think sometimes we just see… one magnified 15-second incident that happens but not really seeing everything else that goes along with the job,” Klauzer noted. “Lots of officers struggle with (what goes on), and then that in turn affects families. So (by) being able to provide support, we want to provide education to families, mental health awareness from police officers and families… (and) trainings for families and spouses around those things just to build stronger officers and their families in our community.”
Growing up in a military family, Moser said that being a police officer’s wife has that same “backbone” philosophy. Though police officers are out in the public each day in service to their community, their families help support them especially during higher calls for service.
“For example (when there’s) a shooting, that officer goes through that but so does that wife. But we got to keep it together for the children. Day to day, we still got to go to work and we still got to function and make sure everything is good for that officer to heal,” Moser said.
Looking ahead, Klauzer said that she hopes to partner with the police department with new hires that come in the door by being a part of the orientation process. This would allow for new officers and their families to become aware of what’s available to them right off the bat, she said.
Along with partnering with DPD and its recruits, the City of Dickinson Police Auxiliary would like to set something up with the Dickinson Police Association, Moser added.
For DPD officers’ families who are interested in joining or community members who would like to donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.