KidsFirstPicSMALLLThe Benton Police Department has launched a #KidsFirst initiative this month, which is aimed at growing relationships and forming bonds with youth in the city, as well as continuing to promote child safety education in the public. The #KidsFirst Initiative will be a community oriented policing program geared toward positive policing actions and activities with children in the community.

“We want to continue building on positive relationships already established with the kids in our community,” Chief Kirk Lane said. “We also want to reach out to those children we haven’t met and let them know we are here to keep them safe; that we are the good guys with their best interest at heart. We’ll also have several fun events for the kids, with everyone learning how to keep our youth safe at the same time.”

The events will include a Hooked On Fishing Derby at Sunset Lake on June 16, where officers will donate time to help teach children how to fish, and award prizes in various categories. The fishing derby is held in conjunction with the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Saline County.

School Resource Officers will be hosting the 6th annual Junior Police Academy program from June 13-24. The two week program introduces teenagers to what law enforcement officers encounter and officers reactions to an array of issues. The participants will also be involved hands-on with fun activities, such as mock traffic stops, fingerprint collection, obstacle courses, and much more.

There will be a Safety Saturday on June 25 in which officers will conduct a car seat check-up, there will be a booth for fingerprinting identification kits for children, and there will be exhibits from the Benton Animal Control and Benton Fire Department. The time and location of the event will be announced at a later date.

“Officers will also be out spending time with children in the parks, at their lemonade stands, Day Care centers, and other places,” Lane said. “Plus, we’ll have another ‘Ice Cream Blitz’ for the kids later this month.”

The BNPD’s Bicycle Patrol has returned for a second year with the officers hitting the pavement on mountain bikes to patrol various areas of the city. They will focus on interacting with children and also patrolling high crime areas to be a visible deterrent and catch criminal activity in the act. Officers in patrol vehicles will emphasize traffic enforcement in residential neighborhoods. We encourage drivers to slow down and watch for children, as they will be more present with school out for the summer.

Individuals are always welcome to request an officer stop by events or gatherings they may be having. We can always be reached at 501-778-1171 to request an officer or use our official Benton Police Department app found on the Apple or Android stores to contact us. Think of #KidsFirst.

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