2012-08-23 / News
Police host ‘Cops in the Park’
SWARTZ CREEK — The Swartz Creek Police Department hosted a new youth program called Cops in the Park at Elms Park in Swartz Creek on August 6-10.
The new program saw over 200 kids, ranging in age from 4-17 years old, participate in such activities as kickball, baseball, basketball and arts and crafts.
The kids were invited to come to Elms Park each and every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They were free to sign in and sign out as they pleased.
Swartz Creek Police Department Police Chief Rick Clolinger said a lot more kids showed up for the week-long event than he thought would.
“It had a lot better response than I thought,” he said. “Next year it will be a lot bigger.”
The program aimed to generate friendships and relationships between the youth of Swartz Creek and the Swartz Creek Police Department.
“Nothing bothers me more than when a kid is afraid of a policeman,” Clolinger said.
Clolinger added that there is a general fear of the police in the public, and programs like Cops in the Park builds relationships with the community.
“Anytime we can build relationships with the youth in the community is a good thing,” he said. “These programs help bridge that fear.”
In addition to offering instruction for kids on how to hit, kick or dribble a ball, Cops in the Park gave the children the opportunity to work together in teams and be a part of a group with other kids that were all different ages.
“It teaches kids to get along with other kids,” Clolinger said.
Further, at the end of each day, the kids nominated other children from their group for rewards for helping them learn how to play such activities as baseball and basketball. They also wrote letters indicating what they enjoyed about the program.
Cops in the Park was funded by a $1,700 donation from the Swartz Creek Kiwanis Club. The Police Department also spent $300 from its youth projects fund, and the Swartz Creek Community Schools provided equipment for the activities.
The program was organized by Swartz Creek Community Schools Liaison Officer Kenneth Szmansky. If the money is available, the Swartz Creek Police Department is aiming to make Cops in the Park a two week program next year.
“Every year funding is an issue,” Clolinger said.
Copyright 2010-2013 The Swartz Creek View, All Rights Reserved