What better day than the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to remind students of the importance of law enforcement.
On Wednesday, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford held its annual Law Enforcement and Familiarization (LEAF) Day in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons.
The university hosted numerous agencies, which had tables set up so officials could learn about the services the agencies provide and meet agents in person. Visitors were on hand from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., so students could stop whenever their class load allowed.
This was the 35th LEAF Day.
“It’s important to make sure today’s youth understand what law enforcement is and what a career in law enforcement is about,” said Sgt. Jeff Dougherty of the City of Warren Police Department.
Visiting local colleges to meet with students directly is a good way to do that, he added.
Also on hand to meet students were two representatives of YWCA Bradford’s Victims’ Resource Center: Alexis Barrett, outreach coordinator and sexual assault advocate, and Donna Butler, legal advocate.
“I definitely like to make sure everyone knows we’re there and have a good presence in the community,” said Barrett, who noted the center provides services including help for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, counseling, a women’s shelter and legal advocacy.
They attended LEAF Day because they often work with law enforcement. They brought information on human trafficking, as well as packets about the Victims’ Resource Center and items with its 24-hour crisis hotline number, 888-822-6325.
Sharing her own enthusiasm for the day’s event, District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer said, “The McKean County District Attorney’s office is honored to partner with local law enforcement in a day set aside to appreciate members of law enforcement. To have the event on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks makes the event even more important.”
She outlined the nearly 3,000 people who died the day of the attacks, as well as the many survivors who have died since from related illnesses.
“On behalf of the District Attorney’s office, we express our gratitude to our local firefighters, law enforcement officers, members of the military and other first responders for their readiness to respond to tragedy while putting their lives in peril; and we express our gratitude and our vow to remember the nearly 3,000 innocent lives that were lost on that day,” Shaffer said.
K-9 handlers Bob Rinfrette and Steven Pleakis, along with K-9 Rae, who is almost a year old, were in attendance representing the McKean County District Attorney’s office.
Rinfrette noted the event is “training for the dog. She gets to see a lot of different people she’s never met before.”
Pitt-Bradford student Kim Trainor, who said she is interested in the training of K-9s, was happy to stop and play with Rae for a few minutes.
“I like learning about the K-9 Unit and how they work in the field,” said Trainor.
Among the agencies in attendance were Pennsylvania and New York state police; Bradford City, Bradford Township and Warren City police; the McKean County District Attorney’s Office; the McKean County Drug Task Force; McKean County Adult Probation; McKean County Sheriff’s Office; YWCA Victims’ Resource Center; the Pennsylvania Game Commission; and the U.S. Marine Corps.