Home Campus OUPD debuts ‘Poker Chip Challenge’ engagement activity

OUPD debuts ‘Poker Chip Challenge’ engagement activity

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OUPD poker chips. Photo by Maggie Prosser.

The Ohio University Police Department implemented its latest community engagement activity, the “Poker Chip Challenge,” a program designed to encourage residents to build relationships with officers.

Beginning earlier this month, OUPD officers were given a supply of custom printed poker chips bearing their name and badge number. Community members are encouraged to ask OUPD officers around campus for their poker chips.

If an individual collects all 27 chips, they can bring them to OUPD headquarters — located in Scott Quad — and receive a complimentary wooden display case to store their collection.

While out collecting chips, it is important that people remember to keep both their safety and officers’ safety in mind. OUPD received a report last week of a student chasing an officer in his car in an attempt to claim his chip, said Lt. Tim Ryan, OUPD’s public information officer.

“If we’re not directly engaged in work that’s a great time to ask,” he said. “You can also stop up to the office anytime and ask for whoever is here to give out some poker chips.”

OUPD does not have an end-date set for the Poker Chip Challenge, and officers will continue to hand out chips as long as they have them.

Recently, OUPD worked to expand their community engagement efforts throughout Athens by hosting events such as “Coffee with a Cop,” a program where officers provide free coffee and converse with students and residents.

“The goal is to give community members a chance to interact with us and get to know us on a personal level,” Ryan said.

Events such as this also provide a forum for students to interact with officers and share concerns they may have, said Jordyn Zimmerman, a student senator on the Joint Police Advisory Council. 

Strong relationships of mutual trust are important for everyone involved, and these (events) are ways of building those,” she said. “In a community, but even more so on a college campus, police and student relationships are invaluable.”

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