Children at Christian Fellowship camp get a visit from SBSOAug 19th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Community
There’s no doubt youngsters love robots, airboats, motorcycles and trucks.
And that’s what the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office gave 75 boys and girls to play with on the final day of a summer camp, sponsored by
the Rev. Henry Ballard of Violet’s Christian Fellowship, held at the old Gauthier Elementary school grounds and buildings in the Poydras area.
The camp, held from early June through early August for three age groups spanning 4-14, gave the younger kids and young teens the chance to see Sheriff’s Office special equipment. It included some that have proven to be crowd favorities: the bomb robot used to check suspicious items, an airboat, a motorcycle used by the sheriff’s Traffic Division and the department’s SWAT truck used in SWAT team training.
Kids crowded around each of the pieces of equipment as they were demonstrated by deputies.
Also, officers from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, or D.A.R.E., showed off the new “distraction glasses,’’ which simulate the effects of being drunk or impaired in order to show the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
But to Sheriff James Pohlmann and Rev. Ballard, the day gave youngsters the chance to interact with law enforcement officers demonstrating the equipment, fostering the opportunity to talk with police and ask questions. Ballard said the goal of the summer camp was “to enrich the kids’’ by giving them a chance to do fun things such as field trips. Ballard also noted that having Sheriff Pohlmann speak to the young people and demonstrate equipment and have deputies talk to the kids was also good for them.
“They are inquisitive about sheriff’s deputies,” Ballard said. “They see police in their neighborhoods and other places in the parish but for them to have the chance to ask questions is good.’’ And boy what questions the youngsters had for the sheriff.“Our job isn’t just to arrest people,” Sheriff Pohlmann told. “It’s to help people.”
Some of the items the Sheriff’s Office showed to them were also for helping people – such as a boat that can be used to rescue people, or the bomb robot that can investigate suspicious items without risking an officer’s life.
He also urged them to stay in school to get ahead in life, and learn how to use computers because they are more important to work every day. He also said to avoid people that would lead them into trouble.
In turn, the children asked intelligent questions including whether sheriff’s deputies ever get scared, to which Sheriff Pohlmann answered that yes officers can get scared when they are in dangerous situations “because they are human.’’ But they still have to carry out their duties, he said.
Another one was why do officers carry guns? And why do police sometimes use tasers? And do little kids ever get arrested? And maybe most perceptive, why do people kill themselves sometimes? On the last point, the sheriff told them suicide isn’t an answer, “There is no situation in which someone threatens suicide that can’t be made better’’ with help, he told them.