Police Camp will help future generations
Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 5, 2018
Every year the Picayune Police Department puts on two summer camps for children aged 7 – 12.
The two camps are each a week long and in past years have included activities such as bowling, train rides and trips to the Children’s Museum in New Orleans and the Global Wildlife Center in Folsom.
These camps also include hands-on classes. All of these experiences are provided by Picayune Police Department staff and volunteers. Capt. Theresa Milar said every year organizers of the camp try to change things up a little to keep the event fun and interesting. Milar said the camp was originally founded in an attempt to bring officers and children in the community closer together.
By interacting with police staff during the event, children can see firsthand that officers are nice, passionate people who are doing their best to keep the community safe, rather than a group of people out to cause harm.
Milar said the department wants to show children that, “we’re not the bad guys.”
Every day, countless children are exposed to a negative perception of the police.
Between parents telling children to behave or they will call a police officer and some media outlets publishing biased stories that enforce negative stereotypes, it is easy for children to grow up afraid of law enforcement officers.
A fear of the police at a young age can lead a child to negative outcomes as an adult.
The Strategies for Youth organization, which focuses on improving police and youth interactions, states on its website that, “how children and youth are policed has critical long-term implications for youths’ ability to fully participate in American society and their respect for the American system of law and order.” By holding their yearly camp, the Picayune Police Department is breaking down negative stereotypes that exist while connecting with the next generation in a fun and meaningful way.