Cops for Kids program builds bridges with the community

Darrell Cole
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Children go through mini-police academy at stadium

The Cops for Kids program will wrap up for another year with a graduation ceremony at the Amherst Stadium on Friday.

Cadet Jeff Goodwin from the Atlantic Police Academy, who is working this summer with his hometown Amherst Police Department, has his licence checked by Cops for Kids cadet Megan Sealy while Const. Randy Babineau looks on. The third Cops for Kids program wraps up today at the Amherst Stadium.

AMHERST – In the short time the Cops for Kids Program has been operating, Const. Jason Galloway has already seen it make a huge difference in the interaction between children in the community and members of the Amherst Police Department.

“There’s no question it has made a difference,” said Galloway, who introduced the program in Amherst two years ago. “I see it when I’m driving through town and kids that have already gone through the program smile and wave at you. We’re building bridges with the community and we’re building a friendship with our young people so they know we’re there when they need us.”

The program operates like a mini police academy with the four children ages eight to 11 being treated as cadets. After breakfast at 7:30 a.m., the cadets go through physical training each morning of the five-day camp.

The cadets are broken into platoons and squads and go through various training days including how to safely enter a room, while there were firearms (not with real guns) and energy weapons training and motor vehicle checkstops and a demonstration with the RCMP canine unit.

Galloway said the camp also included some first aid training and how to conduct a water rescue.

“We talked to the cadets about how to perform a water rescue and what to do when you’re in a canoe and it tips over. We talked about always wearing a personal flotation device or life jacket and how to get to the air pocket under the boat,” Galloway said. “We then went to the YMCA pool and demonstrated by putting a canoe in the pool and tipping it over.”

Galloway said referrals to the program came from community partners such as CANSA, Maggie’s Place and Family and Children’s Services while other participants came via word of mouth. The program also had a booth during Police Week activities in the spring.

“This is all about building bridges with our young people so they don’t fear police officers and they feel comfortable being around police officers,” he said. “We want them to understand that we’re just like they are and we hope that the children who come through our program will make responsible choices when they are older.”

The Amherst Youth Town Council has also worked with members of the Amherst Police, volunteering as squad and platoon leaders.

“The dedication they’ve shown is amazing. We’ve had some former council members take vacation time at their jobs so they can come here and volunteer,” Galloway said. “They’ve all done an amazing job.”

The program wraps up Friday with fishing (rain or shine) and a boat tour on the marsh near town. Parents are invited to the stadium at 2:30 p .m. at which time the cadets will march in like they would if graduating from the Atlantic Police Academy. He said there will be a number of presentations with some cadets being recognized for certain achievements.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Amherst Police Department, RCMP, YMCA Amherst Youth Town Council Atlantic Police Academy

Geographic location: AMHERST, Children

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Recent comments

  • John
    August 15, 2014 - 20:10

    People if you read the comments on just about any story Wingman is there trying to stir the pot, he has succeeded here, if you ignore him he will eventually stop posting his rubbish

  • lisa cuvelier
    August 15, 2014 - 15:52

    This is a wonderful program which has brought nothing but wonderful things to this community. I must assume that you have no children wingman. There is NOT a parent in this town who have had their kids involved that would have a negative thing to say about this program. Both my younger boys have been a part of this program. One the first year and the next, last year. I have to say.......the friendship that our kids make with these police officers do not end after the end of day 5!!!! My 12 yr old cannot wait until he get to see his favorite police officers. Jason, Michelle and Tom!!! Also all the others that had participated during the week with all the activities that they did. Not one single one of the officers that meet my boys have walked by my boys without stopping to speak with them and catch up with them. How awesome is that!!!! I know that my boys are comfortable with being able to tell the APD if they have an issue or just need to say hi. They go above and beyond to have that communication open with our kids!!! Nothing can be better than that. Wingman....i really hope you will open your eyes and your heart to what this program is building for our youth.

  • Mike
    August 15, 2014 - 08:13

    Seriously wingman ????? Have you got nothing better to do? Most people see the value of introducing the children of the county to our fine Police Officers. Keep up the great work, i hear nothing (with the exception of wingman's comment) but good about this program.

  • Mike
    August 15, 2014 - 08:12

    Seriously wingman ????? Have you got nothing better to do? Most people see the value of introducing the children of the county to our fine Police Officers. Keep up the great work, i hear nothing (with the exception of wingman's comment) but good about this program.

  • Haters be hating
    August 15, 2014 - 06:47

    Oh and wingman - 6-8 cops for 3 days.. nah buddy read the article.. 5 days.. Now re-do your calculation and lets complain again :)

  • Haters be hating again
    August 15, 2014 - 06:36

    As a parent of a child who has been afraid of the police I think this program is a wonderful opportunity!. Wingman I am curious where you get your information 6-8 police officers there at all time? Unfortunately you are WRONG. There are 3 officers - the one putting on the program and 2 police officers that part of their regular job is being part of the schools are there as platoon leaders as are many of the youth student council who are VOLUNTEERING their time to make this program. Are you aware this program is 100% free to the kids - breakfast/lunch all donated and memories and experiences these children will never forget. Maybe haters like you wingman should get your facts straight before criticizing things that actually help so much in this community. No wonder so many children in the community are afraid of the police and the legal system - its the small minded comments that come from people like you that make this program so important. Get a grip and try looking at the positive of things for once

  • Wow
    August 14, 2014 - 23:55

    Some people are just jerks....

  • Robert
    August 14, 2014 - 23:50

    It's for kids. Jeeze... don't people around here ever just take a break from complaining and whining?

  • SpuddyBuddy
    August 14, 2014 - 23:49

    Really, is that the best you can do? Seriously, we have a program that builds bridges between police and our young people and you're complaining about it? We should be congratulating the police for this innovative program. I guess some people can find the negativity in anything.

  • wingman
    August 14, 2014 - 20:01

    Amherst must have lots of money 3 cop cars and 6-8 of Amherst's finest at the stadium for 3 days.