0

‘Day with a Cop’ is day of family fun

Albany Police Department officer Rico Potts tends the grill during the APD Family Protection Unit's "A Day With A Cop Picnic" Saturday in Tift Park. The event included numerous activities and games for children and free hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and non-alchoholic beverages.

Albany Police Department officer Rico Potts tends the grill during the APD Family Protection Unit's "A Day With A Cop Picnic" Saturday in Tift Park. The event included numerous activities and games for children and free hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and non-alchoholic beverages.

ALBANY, Ga. — Meeting a cop in Tift Park over a burger cooked by a couple other cops and served by more cops pleased a lot of people at the second annual “Day with a Cop” picnic.

Whether Albany Police Department officers wore uniforms, jeans or shorts with T-shirts and hats that looked more at home in the swamps than the city, they met the community as fathers, mothers, the people next door and just plain folks Saturday.

photo

Joe Bellacomo

Lowe’s Department Sales Manager Wanda Heath, left, helps Willie Stephens, 5, assemble a mini baseball game craft during the APD Family Protection Unit’s “A Day With A Cop Picnic” Saturday at North Jeffeson Street and Fifth Avenue in Tift Park. The event included hula hoops, face painting, crafts and games for the children.

“This is such a good idea. People get to meet the officers on a personal level rather than when they are on a call,” said Shoncay Smiley, who attended the picnic with her two children and husband Patrolman Stephen Smiley.

“People can get to know the police on a one-on-one basis. People can get to understand they are just like them with a difficult job to do protecting people.”

Children squealed in a bouncy house, while others skipped Double Dutch rope during the picnic. The mature crowd enjoyed the food, music and socialization in the shade of pavilions.

“This is great. It gives us someplace to go and something to do,” said Gloria Chris. “We can really talk and relate to each other and the police.”

Noting the racial mixture Liz Wyche said that this was the way God intended people to live together,

“I thank God we can come together and everyone get along,” Wyche said. “I thank God for the police. And I thank God no matter the race.”

Albany Transit provided transportation to and from the picnic for free from various areas of the city to make it easy for people to get to Tift Park. At least two green uniform Dougherty County Police Department officers also took the opportunity to meet the community.

photo

Three-year-old Demenaca Draper, left, is given a slice of watermelon from APD intern Anthony Hill during the APD Family Protection Unit's "A Day With A Cop Picnic" Saturday in Tift Park.

Community organizations such as Girls and Boys Clubs of America, Strive2Thrive and the Lily Pad were on hand to recruit members and let people know the services available to them.

As part of the Lily Pad’s services Amanda West explained a service that might not be well known for parents who do not live together. Called Paves, the service is about child access and visitation.

For more information call the Paves office at (229) 496-9031.