Officers use camp to build positive relationships with community kids

Both kids and police are enjoying the last few days of summer before school starts at camp.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 6:53 PM
Updated: Aug 1, 2019 9:43 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Both kids and police officers are enjoying the last few days of summer before school starts at camp.

The annual St. Joseph Cops Care Youth Camp is in full swing, and third-year camp coordinator, Sergeant Roy Hoskins with the St. Joseph Police Department, says it’s still all about building up kids in the community.

“The camp has been a great success,” Sgt. Hoskins said. “And we will keep adding and making changes to make it better for the kids, and this year has been really great.”

There are 42 kids from ages nine to 12 enrolled in the camp this year.

Officer Carl Cook has been with the SJPD for three years, and it’s his first year participating in Cops Care Youth Camp. He’s one of the 16 total cops running the camp this year.

“It was a special thing for me to get this opportunity to get out here with the kids in the community,” he said. “It gives them [kids] a chance to get to know me and see my face.”

Officers say this camp is a great way to start forming lasting relationships.

“At a younger age they’re more impressionable and they go on to be adults so if they get a better image of us when they are younger hopefully that will move on to when they are older and they’ll move on and have good things and they can have a good view of police ,” Cook said.

“We want them to know they can relate to us because we are people too,” said Officer Wyatt Laipple, a 16 year veteran with SJPD. “They [kids] can approach us with problems and issues they might be having.”

Sergeant Hoskins says SJPD has been holding the camp for nearly 10 years and this year officers wanted to amp up the experience for campers.

“We have a fire simulation trailer, we’ll have a bike safety talk Thursday, and on Friday, we’ll have the Bearcat Armoured Vehicle, a Firetruck, a Buchanan County Ambulance, police motorcycles, and an SJPD K9 here,” Hoskins said.

The camp is Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with lunch provided each day. Campers also receive a ‘Cops Care Youth Camp” t-shirt for attending.

To sign up for next year's camp, check the SJPD Facebook Page in late May for an application.

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Under clear skies, temperatures have dropped very quickly and we are starting the day with single digit readings this morning. Wind chills are at or below zero to start the day so make sure you and the kids are layered up.
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