CENTREVILLE — It’s not everyday law-abiding citizens get the chance to rub elbows with the law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel who protect them.
In Queen Anne’s County, that opportunity arises at least once a year during Sheriff Gary Hofmann’s Office of the Sheriff Open House.
This year was Hofmann’s 10th hosting the event, complete with live, interactive police activity demonstrations, CPR training, donut decorating and sheriff’s office educational tours.
Hofmann said the open houses are important because they allow people to see law enforcement in a different light.
“A lot of times, people only see us responding, locking up bad guys, kicking down doors, stuff like that,” he said. “In this kind of environment, they get to see we’re no different than anyone else in the community.”
The everyday mission of his office, Hofmann said, is proving to people “our staff is no different than the community.”
“They get to experience that we are a community-based law enforcement service, and we’re here to work for the community,” he said. “It’s kind of nice they get to come in and see we’re not only out there enforcing speeding tickets, we’re here doing a lot of great community things, as well.”
Hofmann said, “One of the most inspiring things about this open house is when a little kid comes in with their little eyes wide open, and they get to meet someone they think of as a hometown hero, somebody who’s going to be there to help them.”
“We want them to have that good relationship with the police,” he said.
Hofmann said he hopes the annual open house will continue to grow and attract more Queen Anne’s County residents in the coming years because it’s “one of the things we’re very proud of that we do.”