Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Cops N Kids has successful event

The annual Cops N Kids was held Friday, June 9, at Claiborne West Park. The event was another successful effort organized by the Orange County Sheriff's Office to introduce young people to local first responders to enhance trust and better relationships between law enforcement and the public.

Personnel from the Sheriff's Office in addition to the county constables, officers from police departments in the county, troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety, first responders from fire departments, various wrecker services, and the ambulance service greeted visitors from not only Orange County but from neighboring counties during the day on Friday. There were plenty of free activities and lots of free food to satisfy everyone that attended.

Each department had a booth with its personnel on hand to greet the visitors as they came by. All those attending were given special souvenirs by the first responders to help promote safety.

The Sheriff's Office had tactical vehicles which youngsters could sit inside. There was SWAT equipment the youngster could hold in their own hands.

Other agencies had their first responder vehicles for viewing by the public. An evacuation rescue helicopter landed in the park for those that wanted to get an up close look inside.

For the smaller kids there were bounce houses to play in. A small train allowed the youngsters to ride around the park.

A number of commercial businesses participated with booths to help promote safety and community awareness of potential hazards in our south east Texas communities. Everyone enjoyed the great weather and the surroundings of Claiborne West Park.

Orange County Sheriff Lane Mooney was pleased with this year's edition of Cops N Kids which the Sheriff's Office has sponsored for 27 years. "The weather is wonderful, it's a beautiful day. We already have a great turnout. It's great, we're happy," Mooney replied.

Final numbers will be forth coming later but the attendance for this year's Cops N Kids apparently exceeded totals at the event from the last couple of years. Deputies at the entrance to the grounds said they counted at least 25 buses and large vans coming into the park after just the first couple of hours on Friday with several groups from Jefferson County including Beaumont, Nederland, Port Arthur, and Port Neches.

Cops N Kids is a one day event, but first responders try to build a rapport with the community every day. Mooney explained, "It's a daily activity for us, and our guys that our out there on the street they deal with kids every day, so we do this every day. This event is for all the police officers locally to get together and come out here with the kids and the public to introduce themselves to them."

County Commissioner Chris Sowell of Precinct 2 attended Cops N Kids. Sowell responded, "What a great event for our community and for our kids. The Sheriff's deputies and all the police officers are out here everybody getting to know each other a little better. This helps build a relationship so when the kids see the officers they know the officers are here to help them. Some kids might be scared of officers so they need to know they don't have to be scared because the officers are here to protect them."

Sheriff Mooney emphasized the purpose for Cops N Kids. "Nine times out of ten when we show up at a residence it's not on a good note, so the public sees us in a different light. Right here they get to see us being the good guys, and that's what we are the good guys that want to be available to the community," Mooney concluded.


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