By Jim Newell
Floor hockey, basketball, ping pong, board games and gym activities. And pizza to fuel the fun.
Just watch out for the cops. They might swipe the puck during floor hockey.
The Lake Orion Police Association – the officers of the Lake Orion Police Department – brought back the Kids & Kops activities night at Blanche Sims Elementary, hosting the second event of the year on Friday.
The police association has planned two events per month from November through March, said Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh.
“The beauty of this program is that the officers don’t just supervise, we jump right in and play with them – floor hockey, shooting baskets, board games,” Narsh said.
The program is currently only at Blanche Sims, the lone elementary school in the village limits.
“The whole idea, especially with young kids, is to learn that we’re people, too, and we care about them. We want to develop a relationship that will, hopefully, last a lifetime. So, when they’re in high school they’ll see an LOPD officer and say, ‘Hi officer, I remember you from Kids & Kops.’ And with that they have a trust that only comes from this type of program. And that’s invaluable.”
Narsh said 113 kids registered for the first Kids & Kops program and about 90 attended on Friday. “Twenty more registered this week, so words getting out fast.”
LOPD Officer Paul Leming runs the Kids & Kops program and the LOPD is fine with the program continuing to grow. “It’s organized chaos, but it’s great,” he said.
The LOPD is partnering with the Orion Area Youth Assistance, and OAYA volunteers helped supervise and play with the kids.
Students from the Lake Orion High School Leadership class also volunteered to help out.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said senior Ashley Yearwood, who, along with her classmates, jumped in to play floor hockey with the elementary students.
Security is always a concern for parents and Narsh said the school building is locked down with someone monitoring the front entryway throughout the Kids & Kops night.
Anyone who wants to donate to the program can contact the LOPD at 248-693-8323. Donations and checks can be made to the Lake Orion Police Association, 21 E. Church St., Lake Orion, MI 48362, with Kids & Kops in the memo line.