Tuesday morning, Merrill Police Department officers teamed up with members of the Lincoln County Sports Club and 13 area youngsters for the second annual ‘Badges and Bullseyes’ event at the club.
“We had another great turn out and a lot of fun!” said police chief Ken Neff.
“Events like this are a great opportunity for officers to get together with kids in the community and participate in great activities. Activities like this today help teach and build confidence. Some of the kids we spent the morning with had never picked up a bow and arrow before. It was neat to see their confidence and skill level build as the morning went on. By the end of the day, some of those who had never shot a bow before were doing so well, they were challenging each other to aim for the more difficult areas of the targets! I think the kids had a great time and so did we.”
The event is in it’s 2nd year of grant funding from Sussex, WI based “Cops and Kids” Foundation, which also funds similar events including “Gutter Busters” and ‘Cops and Bobbers”.
According to the foundation: “The programs are designed to encourage positive interactions between law enforcement and the community, specifically children. These programs allow cops and kids to have fun together while teaching them positive alternatives to committing crimes.”
As Neff adds, the funding expires next year but the department has full intention to continue participating in Cops and Kids activities well into the future.
“We have had great participation and response from the community in terms of donations which is great. The founder of the ‘Cops and Kids’ visited us last summer and was very pleased with what he saw and the the level of participation we had. We fully intend to re-apply for the grant from the foundation next year and hope to keep participating in events like this for many years to come.”
Cops and kids will team up once again on Tuesday, when area officers will join area children with disabilities for a morning of fishing at the “Cops and Bobbers” event at the Council Grounds.