Westland Police Department helping kids with special needs experience lights, loud sounds

Kids given tour of station

By Larry Spruill - Reporter, Natasha Dado

WESTLAND, Mich. - It is a day of really giving back. Officers from the Westland Police Department took a timeout to show special guests like Paul Witbeck and his family around the station.

“It’s awesome. My kids like learning, like, tons of new things all of the time,” said Witbeck. 

“Well, we have all kinds of stuff set up out here. We have our motorized signs, our motorcycles, we have K-9 units. We have tours of the station including evidence, SWAT gear,” said Sgt. Robert Wilkie, with the Police Department. 

And they didn’t hold anything back. They brought out all of the gadgets for the kids.  

“Some of our community police officers have spoken to people in the public who expressed concerns that sometimes they can’t bring kids to these events because of the loud sirens and the lights or things like that,” said Wilkie. 

That’s because these kids have special needs and can’t really experience the lights and sounds, but they can be a part of the behind-the-scenes work, like fingerprinting.  

“With having two autistic children, loud noises, really bright lights, you know police sirens, fire sirens, it really bothers them, so that’s why we try to come to things like this, so they can experience this without the freaking out part,” said Witbeck. 

A huge part of this event is allowing the kids to see all of the police equipment up close and personal, but the officers say the most important part of the event is bridging the gap between the community and the police.

"I can guarantee you that everyone at this department is here to help you, and they absolutely will if you have any problems, special needs or not, obviously. You can come up here and see us, and we will do what we can to help,” said Wilkie. 

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