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Person of the Week
Sudac Looks to Build Relationships through Community Events
Officer Steve Sudac helped begin a monthly outreach program to connect with the youth in the North Haven community. (Photo courtesy of NHPD)
Last month the North Haven Police Department (NHPD) kicked off a new event to help strengthen the bond between officers and North Haven’s youngest citizens. The idea for the event came from Officers Steve Sudac and John Battick.
“We were discussing the way policing is today and how the media is not particularly friendly all the time and the police can be portrayed in a bad light,” says Steve. “We wanted to find a way to intercept that idea early, give back to the community, and show that we’re not the bad guy. We want to help maintain positivity for the police.”
While Steve notes that there have been negative stories and incidents nationally, he says that “on a micro-level, North Haven is very supportive of our department.” In order to continue to build that bond, the officers came up with a sweet idea of combining favorite summertime treats with a community meet and greet. They planned the first two activities—Cone with a Cop, which was held in May, and Mission ImPopsicle, which will be held Friday, June 25—and intent to plan more.
“We went to the chief [Kevin Glenn] with the idea and he was all for it,” says Steve.
Cone with a Cop was held in June at Friendly’s in North Haven. After buying a cone at the ice cream shop, families came outside to get to know some of NHPD’s finest. Not only did children (and their parents) get to interact with and get to know officers, but they got to check out the police cars and even meet one of NHPD’s K9s.
There was a great showing from the NHPD with everyone working the evening shift coming by the event. The children didn’t walk away empty-handed as officers handed out toy badges and police coins.
“It was great timing because the mask mandate was lifted just before when it was scheduled,” says Steve. “People, especially the kids, really seemed to enjoy it, especially being able to get in the cars.”
Steve is hoping to have one event each month throughout the summer. The next event is Mission ImPopsicle, which will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on June 25 at Grover Wyman Park. The NHPD will provide popsicles for children as well as some lawn games to enjoy.
“We’re hoping to get a nice crowd,” says Steve. “People were really interested in the last one and hopefully it will create a good buzz.”
This isn’t the first time that Steve and Battick have teamed up to help the community. Three years ago, the pair decided to start a toy drive through the NHPD. After the collection, toys are distributed to families in need in North Haven. If there is an excess, they work with the Police Emerald Society in New Haven to distribute the rest.
After a successful first year, COVID made them adjust plans in 2020. Despite the challenges and changes they had to implement, they were still able to collect toys for those in need. Both officers are excited to host the toy drive again in 2021.
“During the holidays, you get that bug wanting to help others out,” says Steve. “John and I were spitballing ideas about what we could do to give back and wanted to help families here in town so we came up with the toy drive.”
Steve has been an officer with the NHPD for the past 5 ½ years. Prior to being hired in his hometown of North Haven, Steve worked with the New Haven Police Department for 18 months.
Just last week, Steve finished an intensive training to be a part of the Regional Traffic Team, which is called in to handle the recreation of severe traffic accidents. Steve notes that training involved “a lot of math and a lot of physics.” Steve also serves on the regional Crisis Negotiation Team.
“Being involved in the regional teams allows you to meet people from different towns,” says Steve, who enjoys working on cars and his father’s classic car. “You also have the opportunity to do things and learn things that you wouldn’t experience as a regular patrol officer. It’s more involved and another part of the job.”
Looking ahead, Steve would like to “climb the career ladder” and plans to test for leadership positions as they become available. He would also be interested in learning more about becoming a K9 officer.
As an officer with the NHPD, Steve’s biggest focus will be to continue to build relationships within the community, especially with the town’s youth. He hopes that creating positive experiences when children are young will bring positive effects down the road.
“We want to be involved in the community and make a difference where we can,” says Steve. “We’re hoping these events will help people, especially the kids, realize that we’re here if they need help or need someone to talk to. It breaks down the barrier of fear.”
For more information, visit the North Haven Police Department’s Facebook page.
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .