It’s business as usual on Friday morning at the Oak Bluffs police station except for the five toddlers roaming around the station’s front steps getting ready for their closeup.

The children — Gunner, William, Lowen, Lark and Julian — are shepherded into their fathers’ arms and its lights, camera and lots of action. All are experienced models by now, having posed for the photo every year since they were born. Back in 2017, in a cosmic rule of fives, the five children were born to five Oak Bluffs police officers in a span of five months.

That year, the newborns and their fathers sat for a portrait outside the station. Since then, the photo shoot has become an unbroken tradition for the officers and their families, who celebrate the birthday season together with parties and barbeques.

“They’re all just one big pack,” laughed state trooper Dustin Shaw, as the children circled his legs. Mr. Shaw and his wife Morgan are the parents of Lowen.

The families have grown over the last three years. — Maria Thibodeau

But the babies, once small enough to cradle, aren’t so little anymore. The new year has brought plenty of new milestones, like learning to walk and talk.

“Three has been fun,” said Mr. Shaw. “It brings a whole new set of challenges, but also a whole new set of fun and exciting things.”

One of those things is getting to have conversations with Lowen, who has begun speaking in full sentences this year. “Coming home from work and having her yell ‘Daddy’s home’ and ask me how my day was, is unbelievable,” he said.

Rene Millerick and officer Tim Millerick are parents of Julian, age three. And Clover, age three months is the newest member of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw also have a second daughter, Britta.

During portrait time, some of the toddlers strutted their stuff, like James Hagerty’s son, William, who sat beaming for the camera on his father’s knee. His mother, Alessandra, laughed as he posed for the portrait.

Others enjoyed their moment in the limelight a little less. Det. Jeffrey LaBell and his wife Missie worked hard to get a smile out of their daughter, Lark. But when the camera came out, Lark burrowed tearfully into her father’s chest, unmoved by offers of chocolate and toys.

Gunner, son of officer Seth Harlow and Bonnie Kingsbury, had other things on his mind. During the photo he looked out at the lawn, fascinated by a passing butterfly.

After much repositioning the photo was finally taken. Standing behind the camera, coaxing smiles, the mothers remarked that it’s hard to get a three year old to do what they say.

“It’s an accurate representation of how tough three is,” said Mrs. Millerick with a laugh.