South Mississippi law enforcement leads SWAT presentation at youth summer camp
PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - South Mississippi law enforcement is teaching kids how to balance summer fun with life skills. The initiative is all part of the Picayune Police Department’s annual youth camp where young minds are educated on the basics of working as an officer in the field.
PPD believes education doesn’t have to stop simply because the school year has ended. Both the Picayune Police Department and the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department come together each year to make sure continued learning carries throughout the summer season.
“We decided that we need half educational and half fun,” said Theresa Milar, Picayune Police Department Captain and Summer Camp Director. “Everybody can do all the fun stuff, but we want them to take something away from our summer camp.
Monday marked day one of the two-week program. Nearly sixty kids from Hancock County, ages five through nine, participated in a SWAT demonstration presented by the departments.
“We want them to understand that we’re not there to be scary or to intimidate or necessarily harm anybody, we’re there to accomplish the same mission as the rest of them are,” said Lt. Jody Smith, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department.
The kids had a chance to hear about the roles within the SWAT team and the various resources and equipment needed to execute their roles.
They should know that we’re there to help them, and be familiar with a lot of our gear, they can touch it,” said Police Chief Joe Quave, Picayune Police Department. “We can break that barrier and that interest in them wanting to be close to that kind of stuff.”
Many kids who’ve participated in the camp return to volunteer as they get older.
“Coming back and seeing all the little kids doing what I was doing; I mean it’s awesome,” Blayne Scharenbroch, summer camp volunteer. “I’m actually going into this field. I love seeing them learn about it and get excited about it.”
Milar says that kind of support from the volunteers is what makes the twenty-year-old camp so special.
“Almost all of them have been through camp, and I think they love what they see,” says Milar. “They want to come back and give back to our community. We have a great time, and we’re learning at the same time.”
The camp will continue with opportunities for the kids to visit the Institute For Marine Mammal Studies, learn painting skills, and participate in a carnival celebration.
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