Charlottesville police officers are spending their Friday night with hundreds of area kids to show them the force is more than a collection of uniforms and badges. It's all part of the annual "Cops 4 Kids Day" put on by the Charlottesville Police Foundation.
The night of face time with officers is meant to disband stereotypes of cops being intimidating, and give kids who may have had a frightening or negative experience with police a more positive perspective.
Charlottesville Police Foundation Executive Director Mindy Goodall said, "It's neat for the kids to get to see who the police officers are as people, as well as what they do, and get to see them as leaders in our community that they can look up to and they can call on if they need anything."
The one-one-one interaction with police includes tours of forensic vans, SWAT team demonstrations, and a set-up where K9s are set loose on a pretend "convict". There will also be free dinner and other activities set up. Kids ages 6 to 18 are involved in the event.
Organizers expect 200 to 300 children to come out for this year's "Cops 4 Kids Day". It runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday evening at the Boys And Girls Club on Cherry Avenue. This is the fourth year for the event.
Goodall added the Charlottesville Police Foundation is a group of community members set up to support the department by fostering positive interactions with the community, helping officers with housing grants, hosting awards dinners, and providing outside training the city can't budget for.
BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS & THE CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE FOUNDATION HOST THE 2012 COPS 4 KIDS DAY!
The Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia will host the 2012 Cops 4 Kids Day on Friday, May 11th from 4:00-6:00pm at the Cherry Avenue Boys & Girls Club at 1000B Cherry Avenue. This event is sponsored by the Charlottesville Police Foundation for all Boys & Girls Club members of Charlottesville, Albemarle, Orange and Madison, and will have over 200 children participating.
The 2012 Cops 4 Kids Day is an opportunity for the Boys & Girls Club members ages 6-18 to learn how to interact and be comfortable with police while understanding their importance within our community. The kids will participate in and watch several different police activities such as the role of a K9 Police dog, learning how to use 911 in case of an emergency, bike safety tips, and more with food from a local favorite – Wayside Chicken.
The Charlottesville Police Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization of local citizens who help provide our police with the tools and training they need to do their best work. The Foundation supports the Charlottesville Police Department by providing resources for innovative programs to improve public safety such as the Cops 4 Kids Day.
Chief Timothy Longo has participated in the event each year and describes the event as, "Cops 4 Kids is yet another opportunity for the department to connect in a positive way with the community. It is so important that young people begin to see police officers as leaders within their community that can be trusted and relied upon. Last year, a number of our officers were on hand to spend time with the children and talk about their work. I think both the children and the officers appreciated the time that was spent getting to better know and understand each other."
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia provide over 60 programs to over 1,700 kids in five Clubs throughout Albemarle, Charlottesville, Orange and Madison. For more information about our Clubs, visit www.bgclubcva.org.