The police, the parade and celebrating the Fourth

Sgt. Scott Denham, 2019

As a retired Army Veteran and 27-year Los Angeles County and Lane County Deputy Sheriff and Sergeant, one of my favorite days has always been the 4th of July. I love serving in our great country. Prior to my 2012 assignment as a full-time Creswell Deputy, I had attended the Creswell parade and fireworks show a couple of times with friends. I worked my first parade as a Creswell Deputy only three days into the assignment. Deputy Dan Olsen was working the night shift in Creswell and came in early on the 4th. He told me he always leads the parade and clears the route. I did not quite understand what that meant at the time because I was new to the assignment. As one of only two deputies assigned full-time to the Creswell area there was a lot of work to be done. We had to patrol around the parade to ensure the thousands of parade-goers were safe and make sure traffic issues did not become parking issues. We also had to be very watchful for criminal activity. In the previous year’s 4th of July parade criminals took advantage of the community and went on a burglary spree.

I watched the parade grow in length and attendance the next couple of years and marveled at how the community always came together to make it happen. After Deputy Olsen retired (everyone loves Deputy Dan), I got my chance to clear the way for the start of the parade. I shined up my patrol vehicle that 4th of July morning and stopped by Holt Park to greet the Kiwanis and Chamber of Commerce volunteers out serving breakfast to a long line of early-risers. I shook some hands and handed out stickers to kids. After a quick run around to ensure the parade route was secure with barricades in their proper places for traffic control and a quick check in with the staging area, the parade was ready to roll. I reminded the Scouts not to try and keep up with me and not to run away from the rest of the parade. At 1100hrs, I turned on my red and blue lights, gave a couple short blasts of the siren and we were underway.

That first year leading and clearing the way for the parade was eye-opening, invigorating, and special to me. Seeing thousands of Americans lining the streets of this small city all for one thing: to celebrate together the birth of our nation as an extended community.

Patrolling this city, I wave and get waved to a lot every day. On this particular day, my arm got tired. Days like this make all of the ugly go away. We are able to appreciate the beauty in events like this. After the parade I went back to work and made sure everyone got out safe in the traffic crunch that followed. The next couple of years would be just the same.

When I returned to Creswell as a Sergeant in 2016, I got involved in the planning process for the parade. I worked with the Chamber of Commerce and other volunteers for months making sure that all of the festivities, parade logistics, road closures, permits, and security plans were in place by the 4th so that everything would go off without a hitch. The history of the Creswell parade is storied and has always required large participation by volunteer community members. I saw this first-hand in the planning process these last few years before 2020 hit us.

2019 marked the eighth July 4th parade and celebration I have been a part of in Creswell. Over the years I have ridden a police bicycle throughout the route to allow other deputies to experience leading the parade, been hit with a water gun on a hot day, and high-fived or shook hands with hundreds in the course of a single day. And the waving never stops. There are far too many memories to list about what the traditional Creswell 4th of July celebration looks like from a law enforcement perspective. You want to appreciate the day, the event, the people; but always keep their safety, their property and the overall peace in the community in the forefront of your mind. One of my favorite memories is Sheriff Trapp, after riding with the Posse in the parade, helping us take down a drunk driver who had been erratically driving and speeding toward the activities in the park. Sheriff Trapp was on horseback. That is true Sheriffing!

I am hopeful the traditional parade will be back next year, bigger and better than ever.

Deputies will still get to feel the love of a community for which they serve, and their arms will get tired from waving.

– Sgt. Scott Denham



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