OPOC - Outstanding Police Officer of the Community
Koster in a vintage 2009 Photo
Every year Garrett Metal Detectors honors a police softball player who goes over and above the normal call of duty in order to better serve his community. This year, Oakland Police Department Sgt. John Koster was selected for his outstanding efforts in a city plagued by crime and violence. Sgt. Koster supervises the Oakland PD Youth Outreach Unit (Y.O.U.). This unitís primary mission is to mentor at-risk youth and to bridge the gap between the police and the community. Through Sgt. Kosterís direct leadership and efforts, the Y.O.U. has become an integral part of the Department and the community.
Sgt. Koster has fostered several innovative programs, such as Movie Night with the Community, where OPD hosts a movie night in our stationís auditorium to include pizza, popcorn, and other goodies for families as they enjoy a family friendly movie and hang out with members of OPD. This event is typically held once a month over the summer break and gets attended by more and more community members each time. He also coordinates all the open houses OPD conducts with our local schools during the regular school year. These open houses bring Oakland students inside OPD and give them an introduction on what goes on inside the Department. As part of the program, there is also on open Q and A session with the students that can be very frank and blunt, as issues of race and police interaction get discussed in a respectful environment. These type of events have gone a long way in building and maintaining key relationships between OPD and the community.
Through his leadership and networking skills, Sgt. Koster has also brought in the Jr. Giants Baseball program. This program services approximately 200 Oakland youth by providing them with free baseball equipment and facilities to learn and play the game the right way, as well as learn valuable life skills that the kids can build upon as the grow. This is in addition to what OPDís PAL program does; which is also run through Y.O.U. for us.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Sgt. Koster has expanded OPDís Explorer program. This program gives high school aged teens the ability to see what life is like inside OPD. They get to see firsthand what itís like to be a police officer and see that police officers are just regular people. They also learn additional life skills, gain self-confidence, get potential scholarship opportunities for higher education, and are a true pipeline for future OPD!!! Even if these kids in the Explorer program donít go on to become police officers they still will become leaders within the community and a voice in favor of the police.
Please congratulate John when you see him at World Series XIII.