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McDonald's brings police and public together

Gilford School Resource Officer Alyssa Raxter received a Community Policing Award at a recent fundraiser at the Laconia McDonalds. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
October 13, 2021
LACONIA - Visitors to local McDonald's restaurants could have the chance to meet with local police officers during a recent fundraising event.

McDonald's held a statewide fundraiser for the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police Association on Wednesday night. A percentage of the sales in all of the 54 McDonald's restaurants in the state went to the NH Chiefs of Police Association.

That night officers around the state gathered at their local McDonalds for an opportunity to meet the public. Locally officers from the Gilford and Laconia Police Departments met with guests at the Laconia McDonalds.

"McDonald's franchisees across New Hampshire are proud to show our continued support for all the Police Departments statewide. Through this unique fundraising event, we raised nearly $52,000 in 2016 and look to raise $50,000 again this year," said Peter Napoli, local McDonald's Owner/Operator in New Hampshire in a statement. "As business owners, we see the positive impact the police have on our communities and residents, protecting us day in and day out, and we're proud to raise funds so they can operate at their highest level."

The Laconia McDonald's hosted the Laconia and Gilford Police Departments. Officers from both departments met members of the public and showed their respective vehicles. Laconia Police Off. Kyle Jepson and his K-9 partner Abby also met with people that night.

Gilford Police chief Anthony Bean Burpee said this was a great way for the police and public ro interact.

Laconia Police Officer Steve Orton said a lot of people get certain information from the media and form opinions on police officers based on that. He said when people get the chance to meet and talk with police, they see them as human like anyone else.

"It's nice for people to see us on a different circumstance," Orton said.

McDonald's and the NH Chiefs of Police Association presented Community Policing Awards to officers from around the state. That night, Officer Alyssa Raxter of the Gilford Police Department and Off. Steve Orton of the Laconia Police Department both received the award.

Both Raxter and Orton serve as school resource officers in their respective communities.

Raxter was recognized for fining unique ways to connect with students during the pandemic, including a Facebook page, a social media art contest, a pen pal program between students and Gilford police, DARE lessons, taking part in library virtual talks and storytelling, conducted a vaping awareness presentation, and visiting local nursery schools when they re-opened. She also helped create the "Unique Needs Program" where parents of students with unique needs could fill out a form with the police so they would be aware of their students' individual needs if they interacted.

"I see it as part of the job, it's work," Raxter said. "To me, it's really just what I love to do."

Orton recognized all the other officers in Laconia and Gilford, saying any of them were deserving of the award.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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