Tuesday afternoon, Merrill Police Department officers teamed up with 31 area youngsters and staff with the Merrill Parks and Recreation Summer Program, for the second annual ‘Gutter Busters’ event at Les & Jim’s Lincoln Lanes.
“We had another great turn out and a lot of fun!” said police chief Ken Neff.
“We try and do similar events such as ‘Cops and Bobbers’ and ‘Badges and Bullseyes’ twice ever summer since acquiring the ‘Cops and Kids’ grant.”
As part of the two-hour event Tuesday, Neff was accompanied by School Resource Officer Mark Heckendorf, Officer Dane Mathwich and Captain Corey Bennett in enjoying soft drinks, popcorn and conversation with program participants.
As Neff alluded to, funding for the events are provided via grant from Sussex, WI based “Cops and Kids” Foundation.
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 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.”