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Ride along with Mishawaka PD for National Night Out

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – In honor of National Night Out, ABC 57’s Jess Arnold takes you on an exclusive ride along with a Mishawaka police officer.

The Mishawaka police chief says they believe in the community-policing model, meaning getting to know their neighbors on a personal level.

“We still believe it’s the old-fashioned way of meeting face to face and talking with your neighbors and kind of sharing information with the community, and they share it with us, and I think it keeps a close-knit community, and I think that’s what we see here in Mishawaka,” said Police Chief Ken Witkowski.

That’s a bond the Princess City is celebrating on the 34th annual National Night Out.

It’s a chance for the community to connect with the cops who serve them.

Mishawaka Police Chief Witkowski says their ‘next-door-neighbor feel’ is probably why they haven’t had any recruitment problems either—accepting 45 to 60 applications each testing period.

There are two a year.

Their openness extends to these applicants.

“We do give the applicants the chance to ride along, just to kind of, we kind of feel them out, see what they’re about and gives them the same opportunity,” said the chief.

In St. Joseph County’s second largest city, getting to know people, be they policeman or private citizens, is how the department inspires trust.

“That’s what kind of sets us apart. I mean I still have people walk in to the station, I want to see the chief. They get to see the chief. We still keep that small town connection and that personal connection, and that’s what I like. You shouldn’t be afraid to talk to a police officer or come to the station or if you have issues in your neighborhood to call us up. We’ll be there,” said Chief Witkowski.

Officer Kyle Miner swore to 'be there' for Mishawaka back in 2012.

He hopes National Night Out is a reminder to folks that cops are people, too.

"I believe that everybody just sees the badge, and we're more than just the badge. We're people. We have everyday lives, and we just ask that you look past the badge and see us for the people that we are," said Officer Miner.

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