“It gives kids the opportunity to see what kind of community work is out there and to stay on the right track,” S. Ray Lowder Elementary School teacher Jennifer Sain said about Tuesday’s annual Adopt-A-Cop picnic at Betty G. Ross Park in Lincolnton.
Sain’s second-graders were anything but shy when it came to their views of the day’s activities and their plans for the future.
Many of her students were enthusiastic about the remote control car officers from Gastonia Police Department had on display at the event.
“They use this remote control thing to go under cars and blow them up,” Tyler McComas, 9, told the Times-News.
Both McComas and his eight-year-old classmate Orlando Pahuamba say they plan to become cops one day.
“They have lots of cool jobs,” Pahuamba said.
Sain pointed out that through the more than two-decade old Adopt-A-Cop program, her students get to see the “positive impact” of law enforcement.
Each year, every second-grade classroom in the county “adopts” a different Sheriff’s deputy or city police officer who visits the students on a monthly basis, teaching them a number of officer and safety-related tips.
Samantha Cox, 7, emphatically described the instruction of her own classroom’s Adopt-A-Cop.
“She taught us how to say no to drugs, and if a stranger comes up to you, to run,” Cox said.
While punching and kicking the air, the Pumpkin Center Elementary School student expressed why she, too, wants to one day wear a badge.
“Because I know how to do karate,” she said.
Among the activities students throughout the park said they most enjoyed participating in at the picnic were dancing, basketball, hearing the police car sirens and touring the vehicles.
Fire trucks, inflatables and military gear were also on-hand at the picnic.
According to South Fork Fire Department’s Assistant Chief Derek Parks, emergency response crews were able to relay a number of important items to children throughout the day.
“We’re getting a lot of information out there, not only on the law enforcement side but also on the fire side, particularly fire prevention and obeying traffic laws,” he said. “I really enjoy being out here with the kids.”
Tuesday was the county’s 21st annual Adopt-A-Cop event.