Community hangs out with High Springs Police Department

High Springs Police Chief Antoine Sheppard has been with the force for 20 years, but he never misses a chance to socialize with the community.

“It’s a way to build trust,” Sheppard said while surrounded by kids and community members at Walter Howard Park on Friday afternoon.

More than 25 young people showed up to hang out on their day off from school, along with parents and other family members and elected officials.

Sheppard and other members of the HSPD spent a few hours playing cornhole and basketball, chatting and enjoying treats provided by local businesses.

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There was fresh pizza from Sam’s Pizza & Subs, fresh donuts from Krispy Kreme  in Gainesville and beverages sponsored by Developer Karl Spain of Pink Flamingo Diner.

The snacks were all served up by April Roberts, an HSPD field service technician.

Sheppard said it’s important for HSPD officers to be approachable so that future witnesses feel comfortable talking to them.

“You don’t want to only interact when there’s an emergency,” he said about the importance of relaxed interactions with the community.

While HSPD Patrolman Austin Trevor Williams was playing hoops on the courts, Santa Fe High athletes including Ernest Ross—who is committed to play basketball at North Carolina State—were tossing for points at the cornhole boards.

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High Springs Community School seventh grader Ashton Mills, 13, said he found out about the event via Facebook.

He said he came for a chance “to meet the police offers and talk about their jobs.”

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