Local police and other safety organizations are using local television to keep the Meridian public informed on just what their jobs entail and methods to stay safe.
Meridian’s local government access channel, HOM-TV, has a program in its line-up that aims to inform local residents about the activity of local safety providers. The show, entitled “Beyond the Badge,” features members of the Meridian Township’s police and fire departments. It details training activities the two departments engage in, and covers topics that the Web site lists like, “…Internet Safety, Sexual Assault Awareness and Video Game Violence.”
Gaylord Mankowski, a police officer since the age of 19 and with the Meridian Township Police since 1990, offered insight into what “Beyond the Badge” does for the department.
“It helps to portray sides of the Police Department people don’t normally get to see,” Mankowski said.
He said the department uses the show to alert residents to potential problems, like holiday break-ins. He also said it was useful as a visual tool when officers give information sessions at school.
“It was good to show as a visual tool, especially when showing students about the K9 unit we used to have I can just put in the DVD,” Mankowski said.
According to Brian Dumont, HOM-TV’s Senior Production Manager, the show was started around 2000 by Matt Schaster, the station’s former manager. “Beyond the Badge” has continued since then, switching hands from various producers and interns who have been employed at the station. Lynn Meikle is the current producer and host of the show.
In addition to coverage of Meridian’s police and fire department, “Beyond the Badge” occasionally works with other local law authorities like police departments at state and county levels if it fits the content.
When listing ideas he would potentially like to see on the show, Mankowski said he would like to see coverage of the department’s School Community Resource Officers, police officers who respectively visit Okemos and Haslett and keep students informed as to what the responsibilities of the police include. Mankowski also said that he’d like to see episodes both on the Meridian Police Department’s special response team that works with East Lansing and Michigan State University police departments, as well as an episode on Tasers.
“I get asked so many questions about Tasers, I’d just like to show what they can do and what they don’t,” Mankowski said.
Following a temporary issue of being understaffed over the summer, HOM-TV has begun airing “Beyond the Badge” once more along with other programs that were placed on a temporary hiatus.
“Beyond the Badge” airs at 10:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on channel 21 on a daily basis. Beyond the Badge can also be watched in the archived video section of HOM-TV’s Web site, found at http://www.meridian.mi.us/homtv/index.htm.