ELIZABETHTOWN — Area children, if they didn’t feel so before, probably felt esteemed after Saturday. At least, that was the effort of the Elizabethtown Police Department, who held its annual Kids Appreciation Day behind the Municipal Building.
“It went very well,” said Police Chief Tony Parrish. “We’re very pleased with the turnout.”
Plenty of children were releasing energy on the two inflatable slides and the bounce house, and children were also taking rides on the horse and two miniature ponies.
Burlap sacks were available to anyone wanting to challenge a friend to a race, which 8-year old Ayana Jones of Bladenboro did, and for which she won a gravity ball.
A baseball competition, a skateboard demonstration on the new skateboard ramp, bicycle giveaways, musical entertainment, and food were also part of the day. For the police department, however, the day was all about one thing.
“This is all about the young people,” said Officer Capshaw. “They’re the future of this community, and we’re here to serve and protect them. There’s a lot of negativity in the media about law enforcement, and we want to change the perception that’s out there. It’s important to let them know that we are their friends and that they can come to us when they need help.”
Their efforts must be working.
“It’s really nice of them to do this,” said Amber Glisson, who attended the event with her child. “When kids have fun, it improves the parents’ perception.”
“It’s a great public service that they’re offering,” said Kevin Jorgenson. “It shows that they’re not just out there putting people in jail.”
The Rev. Chris Denny, pastor at Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church, said, “It’s always nice to have fun in your hometown” right before breaking out in a full-on spring to challenge one of his children to a spontaneous race across the field.
Janae Ventura said, “I think it improves community relations. I know some of the officers, and I’ve seen them out there talking to people and getting to know them.”
“It’s been a good day,” said Parrish. “But you’ve heard the expression, ‘Behind every good man is a woman who knows what’s going on,’ and that’s what Ms. Bennett is. She put all of this together and deserves all the credit.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.