Police officers hold day camp for youths

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On Thursday, police officers left their uniforms behind to spend the day playing football and sharing cheeseburgers with about 200 Augusta kids.

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Lt. Lewis Blanchard (background) tells 6-year-old Tatum Duncan (center, jumping) and the group of children gathered with her at the gate they can enter the field for fun and games at the Kids and Cops Camp at the Boys and Girls Club off Division Street. Richmond County police and Fire Department members interact with kids at the camp to help foster a better relationship between kids and law enforcement.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Lt. Lewis Blanchard (background) tells 6-year-old Tatum Duncan (center, jumping) and the group of children gathered with her at the gate they can enter the field for fun and games at the Kids and Cops Camp at the Boys and Girls Club off Division Street. Richmond County police and Fire Department members interact with kids at the camp to help foster a better relationship between kids and law enforcement.


“I think it’s a great thing being able to meet (with children) on this level without responding to a crime or on the worst day of their life. Here we get to throw the ball around with them,” said Richmond County Sheriff’s Deputy Donald McVean who attended the Kids & Cops day camp with his bomb dog, Carson.

The sheriff’s office started the annual day camp last summer in hopes of connecting with local children who don’t typically have a good impression of officers. Some of the kids think of officers as bad guys who could take them or their parents away from their home, police said.

About 95 percent of the children are members of the Boys & Girls Club of the CSRA, but other attendees were from various neighborhoods in the area.

“The kids have been extremely receptive, which I’m shocked about,” said Dorothy Burch, a member of the Boys and Girls Club enrichment staff. “In the area we’re in they don’t usually have a positive view.”

Children spent the day in their swimsuits running from one activity to another in a field behind the club’s Division Street location. Pools, water slides and snow cones were the big hits of the day, but they also had the opportunity to play games in a video game trailer, learn about the bomb squad’s robot, meet drug and bomb sniffing dogs, see police motorcycles and play games.

The fire department teamed up with the sheriff’s office to give the children an opportunity to see inside the fire truck and interact with firefighters.

The sirens and yells from kids on Lt. Carlton Bradley’s mini fire truck could be heard from across the field.

“We tell them they can yell as loud as they wanted, but they have to stay seated,” he said.

Kids piled into the golf cart-sized fire engine with Bradley and pretended they were on the way to a fire call. They yelled out directions as he drove them over to an imaginary fire that they would quickly put out.

The sheriff also spent the day at the kids camp, taking pictures with the kids and handing out junior deputy badges, which many of the kids wore on their shirts or swimsuits.

Events like the camp not only help kids connect with officers but can serve as a visual reminder of Augusta’s next generation and just what they’re working for every day.

“It’s just as much for the police officers as the children and community,” Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Lewis Blanchard said.

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ELLIOTTMESS55
981
Points
ELLIOTTMESS55 07/31/14 - 07:10 pm
1
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very noble effort.sadly,those
Unpublished

very noble effort.sadly,those kids wouldn't have such negative impressions of officers were their parent or parents better parents.i assume most of these kids are from high crime neighborhoods,where violence,and mayhem is the norm.all they probably see is officers arresting males and females.their parents don't tell them the criminal was wrong,they blame the white man for everything wrong in their lives,and these criminals did no wrong,they do what they have to do to survive.these kids see their relatives not working,doing nothing constructive,and hear them blame and cuss out the white race all day.i talk about what i've seen and heard.if just once i could hear a black person say thank you for what you do, i would probably faint.sure there are exceptions of police brutality,but they are few and far between,never hear anyone talk about the violence in detroit,and memphis every week.saw a case last night on msnbc about a black guy in ny getting roughed up by(black)officers and someone recorded it.the family is in an uproar and grief.wait till the city settles and those checks make that grief,and uproar disappear in a flash.most people in bigger cities are hustlers,lawsuits are all they dream about day and night.beats working for a living.

corgimom
34664
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corgimom 07/31/14 - 09:01 pm
0
1
They want to know who they

They want to know who they are dealing with, in the future.

And sadly, they WILL be dealing with many of them.

fatboyhog
2025
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fatboyhog 07/31/14 - 09:15 pm
1
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Think positive

You know, corgimom, this could be a very positive event in the lives of many of these kids. Maybe they will see that there is more to life then what they see now. Maybe some of these kids will become criminals; but then again, maybe many of them won't. I choose to hope that this positive encounter will change lives for the better.

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