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File Photo. In December 2018, two-year-old Araya McDonough and her mother, Judy, shop with a Loudonville Police officer Sunday as part of the Ashland Shop With a Cop Program. 

ASHLAND -- The Ashland Police Division (APD) has been selected as the December winner of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation's “Agency of the Month” for its outstanding community policing efforts.  

The APD has many community engagement programs geared toward community policing, including Coffee with a Cop, Cones with a Cop and the annual Fishing Derby. 

"It's important that we build repertoire, trust. It's important people understand we're part of the community, not an outside force," said ACD Chief David Marcelli about community policing. "We are humans, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, the people who sit next to them in church; our kids go to school together." 

For more than 15 years, the APD has sponsored a "Shop with a Cop" event to provide Christmas presents for children throughout Ashland County.  What began as Christmas gifts being provided for one homeless boy, has expanded into a community wide effort supported by fundraising events and donations from our community.  Last year, over 270 children participated in the event and were able to shop with officers, deputies, troopers, rangers, firefighters and other first responders.  

Ten years ago, the Ashland Downtown Dream Cruise Car Show selected the Shop with a Cop program to sponsor.  The car show has raised $122,000 in support of the program. This added funding has enabled us to have each child "pay it forward" by selecting another item to purchase and donate to the Ashland Fire Division's "Red Helmet Campaign." 

The program has been incorporated into several other community events as well. There have been Police Vs Fire Dodgeball Games and an Annual Silent Auction sponsored by O'Bryan's Restaurant. 

The Ashland Police Department serves over 20,500 residents.  Their mission is to protect peace, order, and safety, through service with integrity and accountability.  

Twenty of twenty-four sworn officers are assigned to patrol the streets. They are the first respondents to any emergency or call and are expected to be pro-active during their tours and to respond quickly to the needs of the community.

The Detective Bureau primarily focuses on investigating crimes that occur within the city limits. The goal is to complete an investigation and submit the case for prosecution.  Four full-time detectives and one part-time are responsible for investigating crimes related to drug and human trafficking and possession of illegal narcotics, child endangerment, theft and murders.

The City of Ashland Police Division is also the home base of Ashland Counties Special Response Team. The staff is a part-time tactical team comprised of Law Enforcement Officers and Paramedics from the Ashland Police Division, Ashland County Sheriff's Office, Loudonville Police Department and the Mifflin Fire Department. This group of highly trained officers and paramedics are set to respond and contain threats posed to the residents of Ashland County that may be outside the resources of the average patrol element.  

In 2015, Det. Kim Mager, Program Coordinator, awarded the Attorney General's "Distinguished Law Enforcement Community Service Award".  What began as a kind gesture to a child, has become a community wide effort to engage our children and demonstrate that law enforcement officers are here to help.

About the award

In 2018, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation formed a new committee named “Community Relations and Engagement” to work with agencies of all sizes and capabilities to highlight their positive work that’s being done around Ohio each and every day.

In 2019, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and Law Enforcement Foundation Community Relations and Engagement Committee began a new program named “Sharing Ohio’s Best” to help bring awareness to the amazing work that agencies do all over Ohio to promote positive policing.  

The Community Relations and Engagement Committee compiles submissions from agencies and selects one each month to be recognized.  Each agency is eligible.  Typically, the committee focuses on creativity and how the program impacts the individual community.  Recent programs that have been recognized include a teen driving course, programs to help the disabled, and programs focusing on community safety.  

"It is our pleasure to recognize the outstanding efforts by the Ashland PD for their community policing commitment that helps make us stronger.  We congratulate Chief Marcelli and the hardworking members of his agency that have gone above and beyond to provide quality community policing ideas to their citizens," the Community Relations and Engagement Committee said in a statement “

About Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to continuing professionalism and innovation among police executives in order to assure the continued success of the law enforcement community.  Established in 1928, the Association is a fully staffed organization, offering a broad range of professional, educational and informational services. 

With a mission to enhance our profession through strong leadership, innovative programs and exemplary services, the Association’s goals are: to serve its members; to increase the public’s understanding of the role police play in maintaining our quality of community life; and to foster improvements in police education, practice and research.  

About The Law Enforcement Foundation

The Law Enforcement Foundation (LEF) is a 501(c)3 organization established in 1985 by members the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).  The mission was created around creating safer communities through the continuing education of law enforcement executives, education to the children of the community through our trained DARE officers, and to educate law enforcement on special topics as trends indicate.  

The Law Enforcement Foundation (LEF) is the only entity in Ohio certified to train Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officers where officers are prepared to educate children and parents about drug abuse prevention, internet safety, bullying, decision-making skills, and personal responsibility.

The Law Enforcement Foundation is also the only entity to provide a three-tiered, executive-level management training for law enforcement, culminating in a Masters- level certification in law enforcement management.  

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