Armenians head to Kansas to learn about policing

A delegation of Armenian police officers got a stroll around the town of Lawrence in my home state earlier this month to learn about how community initiatives can aid in police strategy and reduce crime.

“In Kansas, we’ve discussed ways in which they are involved in community policing,” Armenian police Col. Karen Mehrabyan said through an interpreter. “And besides being involved in studying community policing, we’ve been involved in studying the entire police system.”

Since March 8, the delegation, which visited the state through the Kansas National Guard’s state partnership program, has met with police departments in Kansas City, Kan., Overland Park, Wichita and Park City and toured the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson, a unit of KU’s continuing education program.

The news article spends far less talking about the program itself and more time describing the delegates visits to the pride of Lawrence — the University of Kansas’ artificial turf American football stadium.

Kansas Memorial Stadium, the "Colosseum" courtesy of Wikimedia commons

In fact, it opens:

As five Armenian police leaders followed Brad Nachtigal into Memorial Stadium Friday afternoon, they suddenly stopped to examine the artificial FieldTurf surface.

It was not grass, and was unfamiliar territory for the delegation visiting Lawrence.

“This is rubber, rubber pellets,” said Nachtigal, a Kansas University associate athletics director, as the members of the delegation crowded around him.

Col. Mehrabyan, however, suggested that the tour wasn’t totally irrelevant to the work of police.

To Mehrabyan Memorial Stadium was “impressive.” He said Armenia has an interest in building more sports facilities to keep young people engaged in sports activities and off the streets where they can get into trouble.

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