Sykesville police to join ranks of trading cards Intent is to show they 'are real people, too'

June 04, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Trading card fans can soon add pictures of the Sykesville's police chief and six officers to their collections of famous sports figures.

The cards with mugs on the front and brief biographical information on the back will "break the barrier between officers and citizens," said Officer John Iannone, a two-year veteran of the town police force.

"Baseball cards are the big thing with community police," said Iannone. "It is a good idea that will make us more approachable. It will show we are real people, too."

A local photographer has volunteered to take photographs of the officers at the police station next week.

"I am hoping to get them smiling," said Susan Holt, owner of Creative Coverage Photography. "I want to portray the police in a friendly manner so the kids will know the officers are there to help them."

Holt's 4-year-old son was intimidated when he met a uniformed Sykesville police officer.

"The guy was so tall that my son was only at gun level," said Holt. "But the officer pulled out his wallet and showed us a picture of him smiling. He found a way to show a kid his friendly side."

Iannone will pose with Argo, the department's K-9 unit. The 3-year-old German shepherd, trained to answer commands in Czech, will not have its own card.

Because the dog and Iannone work, patrol and train together, they do not mind sharing card space, the officer said.

"All the K-9 officers have these cards," said Iannone, who first spotted police cards at a training session with Argo.

Once the pictures are shot and the information gathered, Specialty Cards in Greenwood, Mo., will print the cards for $1,050 or $150 per officer. Each policeman will have 2,000 cards to distribute.

Money for the project comes from the department's confiscated funds budget, which has about $7,000 available for police programs. The Town Council approved the project last week.

"We are putting the money right back into law enforcement," said Matthew H. Candland, the town manager. "Fortunately, Sykesville is in a position to afford this project."

Each officer has written a brief message for his card.

"We are all saying something short but with meaning," Iannone said. "We are not talking depth. We only have a small space on the back of the card."

Iannone is considering: "Stay in school, study hard and stay away from drugs," if that all fits.

The cards should be available before the end of summer.

Pub Date: 6/04/96

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