For a fourth year, the Hudson Oaks Police Department held its annual open house May 16 in honor of National Police Week.Compared to past years, the event had a smaller turnout but, still, residents showed to tour the department and view the officer’s equipment while enjoying free food and jump houses for the children.Despite the low numbers, Police Chief Brandon Mayberry said he was pleased to see residents he had not met before."It’s to get the neighbors together to meet the officers and see the building," Mayberry described as the event’s goal.By getting to know the residents, Mayberry said he hopes they will not be afraid of members of the department.Near the end of the event, Mayberry said a prayer for not just his officers, but for those in other United States departments and for their families - even their equipment - while they are on duty.Ironically, families in attendance did not just get to see the building, test the vehicles and meet the police officers and firefighters, they also got to see them in action when a wreck occurred nearby.Officer Lee Lavinder was grilling the hot dogs for the event when he heard the accident. Immediately, he and other officers began to cooperate with the fire department and the responding ambulance to resolve the accident efficiently.Lavinder said that is one positive aspect of serving in a smaller city; the response time is much shorter than other areas.For more than six years, Lavinder has served in Hudson Oaks and he said he would like to remain there until retirement."It’s like family," Lavinder said of the 11-officer department. "I like the small-town feel, you get to know everybody."For each day shift he is assigned to, Lavinder drives the department’s truck. He said he likes being recognized by residents because of his vehicle and trademark sunglasses.Lavinder said as cliché as it may sound, his favorite part of the job is helping people."We try to make this a great place for people to live," he said.In past years at the open house, Lavinder ran a vehicle similar to a go-cart for children that simulated driving while impaired. He said he enjoyed seeing children begin to realize what could happen if they one day drove while under the influence of alcohol or another substance."That’s the ultimate goal," Lavinder said of the open house and every day on the job. "To save a life."