Students Get To Know Officers At Unique Camp

The camp kicked off Monday morning with a boating safety course. After the students pass a test, they'll become certified to operate a boat or personal watercraft with adult supervision.

"We're also going to do first aid, fire safety, drug, alcohol and tobacco training and education," Hancock County Sheriff Steve Garber said.

The young people will spend the first half of their day at camp filling up on knowledge. After filling up on lunch, they'll go roller skating, bowling, swimming, along with other fun activities.

"There's not that much for youth to do here in the county once their sports end, baseball, basketball things like that," Sheriff Garber said. "There not a lot of activities here in the county. Our goal is actually to know where these kids are at for a week every summer."

It's also a chance to get to know the kids on a first-name basis and for them to get to know the law enforcement officers.

"If the kids see officers, a lot of times the parents will tease the little ones and say 'I'm going to have this man put you in jail,' " Deputy Sheriff Lt. Ray Billeaud said. "This way the kids get to know us, and they know were not going to go after them for no reason at all, and we kind of bond with them."

"I always thought police officers were really hateful, but after I got to know them today, they're really good," one youngster said.

"They can really help you, in case of an accident, they'll be there for you," said another.

This camp wraps up Friday. There will also be a second one put on in July. The camp is funded by the Hancock County business community.

By Al Showers