Officer for a day Matthew Martin

An arresting summer camp

It’s no funny business with Matthew Martin, 10, and his partner, 8-year-old Chloe Pruden. The duo, in blue uniforms and toy guns on their hips, acted as police officers on Tuesday morning, part of the Kids N’ Kops summer mentoring camp in Lacombe.

It’s no funny business with Matthew Martin, 10, and his partner, 8-year-old Chloe Pruden.

The duo, in blue uniforms and toy guns on their hips, acted as police officers on Tuesday morning, part of the Kids N’ Kops summer mentoring camp in Lacombe.

In a staged scenario involving an intoxicated driver, Pruden wasted no time in asking the driver if she had been drinking.

“Please step out of the car,” said Martin next, unimpressed by the answer.

“And just stay where I can see you.”

A few more questions and the youngsters have slapped the cuffs on volunteer/actor Jennifer Opdendries and called it a day’s work.

Martin and Pruden are two of 24 children donning pretend badges and protecting the streets in Lacombe this week as part of the camp, now in its seventh year.

A partnership between Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Lacombe and District, the Lacombe and Blackfalds police departments, local sheriffs and RCMP, Kids N’ Kops offers an inside look about what it’s like to be in the police force for four days.

“This is an opportunity for kids to learn more about us, work hand in hand and it also brings us to them as more human versus that robotic cop striding by on the street. … We want them to know they can come to us,” said Staff Sgt. Ken Morrison with the Blackfalds detachment.

“It’s a great way to strengthen that connection to the community, too.”

The impact of the summer program carries forward into the future, said Crystal Zens, executive director of Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

“To build a friendly bond with the police and give them future aspirations is an incredible part of the program,” Zens said.

“We want to build a relationship now so that as these young people get older and maybe face some challenges in life, maybe they can draw on the fact that they have talked to police officers before and it was a good thing,” added Chief Steve Murray of the Lacombe Police Service, who has been involved with Kids N’ Kops for five years.

The camp, which won the Solicitor General and Public Security Crime Prevention Award in 2010, fills up quickly every year, with 30 on the waiting list this summer. Some years there have been as many as 60 children waiting for a spot, said Zens.

In addition to a police academy training day and solving a mystery in the Lacombe library, the participants also have a chance to play laser tag, watch Mall Cop, take a field trip for police boat races at Bower Ponds and visit the police canine kennels in Innisfail.

On Tuesday, pairs were partnered up with real police officers and tasked with handling a number of staged incidents, including a drug bust, impaired driver, shoplifting, a noisy party and graffiti vandalism.

“The whole community really gets involved. We have actors all over, at the Mac’s, the Rexall drug store. It’s great,” said Zens.

A total of 45 volunteers are helping with Kids N’ Kops, which wraps up on Thursday.

Just Posted

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

Restaurant owner concerned about Gasoline Alley road changes

Nearly 20 trucks were lined up on the service road in front… Continue reading

Preliminary hearings set for two men charged in weapons and drugs bust

A Red Deer man and Sylvan Lake man are facing 80 charges

WATCH: Hypnotizing show at Westerner Days

Hynotist and mentalist Joshua Seth performs three times a day at Westerner Days

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails,… Continue reading

PHOTOS: River Town Saints rock Red Deer

River Town Saints play Westerner Days Friday in Red Deer

PHOTOS: Dogs, horses and more animals at Westerner Days

Westerner Park’s pavilions were filled with animals during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month