Roughly 1,600 Lincoln County 2nd graders and more than a dozen law enforcement agencies from across the region will participate in the 23rd Annual Lincolnton-Lincoln County Adopt-A-Cop picnic Wednesday at Betty G. Ross Park.
The yearly affair is a fun-filled, educational day when the Adopt-A-Cop program culminates with students spending time with local police officers from Lincoln and nearby counties, along with area firefighters, National Guardsmen, K-9 experts and first-responders.
A special team of teachers will determine which agencies at the event have the best uniform, patrol vehicle and specialty vehicle or unit, the Sheriff’s Office said.
In past years, participating agencies from outside the county have come from Newton, Gastonia, Maiden, Statesville, Cherryville, Shelby and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, among others, bringing with them interactive and informative displays to teach children about everything from bomb squad technology and fire and driving safety and offer patrol vehicle tours and explanations of duty belt gadgets and weapons.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Lincolnton Police Department sponsor the 2nd-grade program each year, prompting officers to visit classrooms regularly to teach students on a number of topics including gun safety, bullying, 911 and “stranger danger.” Students receive special gifts and booklets with information on each topic.
Children are also encouraged to be as inquisitive as possible, asking officers questions related to the policing and criminal justice field. Law enforcement officials always hope that through the program, students will learn to view them as friends and public servants rather than villains who may have taken their family members to jail in the past.
This year’s picnic will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 800 South Madison Street in Lincolnton.
For more information, call the Lincolnton Police Department at (704) 736-8900 or the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at (704) 732-9050.