Annie Tam, For The Miami Student

As the new school year enters full swing, students are becoming acquainted with one another, professors, community members and even the local police department. Students enjoyed an evening at Uptown Park with food, music and the company of the entire Oxford community at the Annual Police Pig Roast Aug. 29.

“It began as a result of disturbances Uptown, so we decided to expand the event from solely members of the police department to the entire community,” Lieutenant John Jones said. “We invite a lot of vendors, and it has become a ‘Welcome back!’ for the students as well as a way to bring the community together.”

According to Jones, the event began in the summer of 1996, making this year’s event the 17th annual roast. Such a tradition was not complete without a visit from Miami University President David Hodge and Swoop. Students had the opportunity to have their photo taken with Swoop and to meet officers from the Oxford Police Department (OPD).

“It is nice to meet the officers because we all reside in the same community, and they [Oxford Police] are the ones in charge,” sophomore Hannah Roy said.

OPD Sgt. Greg Moore said he thought a good relationship between Miami students and the police department “humanizes us. Also, it can turn an adverse situation to a good one if a problem arises.”

With Oxford’s own After Midnight covering classic tunes on the stage, crowds bustled around the park to chat with the officers while munching on hamburgers, hotdogs, pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream and cookies catered by local businesses.

When asked what aspect of the event he found most enjoyable, sophomore Ryan Arvin said with a grin, “The food.” It was his second year in attendance.

“I love to see all the students and the blending of the entire community,” Oxford resident Ann Ramphaus said. “It also gives us a chance to see new businesses.”

Many recently-opened restaurants occupied a stand at the event, between McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital representatives and the OPD booth. The police department provided complimentary Child Safely ID Kits to community members while greeting Miami students.

Oxford police officers suggest following the department on Twitter, @oxfordohiopd, to keep updated on events and ongoing situations. OPD added that their website will occasionally display photos of individuals who need to be identified. The department is looking forward to a smooth and enjoyable year, and hopes that the annual pig roast helped forge the relationships that will make that possible.