“We’re no different:” Miami Co. officers build trust with kids

Kids at a free Miami County Sheriff's Office Youth Camp line up in front of squad cars with officers and K9s July 19th, 2017.

TROY, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami County law enforcement spent Wednesday showing kids here what’s beyond the badge.

Officers and deputies from the county’s city and regional agencies hosted the 14th annual Miami County Sheriff’s Office Youth Camp.

More than 120 campers ages 8-12 attended the free day camp and watched demonstrations.

It was camper Treyl Manuel’s second year at the camp. He enjoyed touring squad cars and seeing the tactical gear.

“Like when they get all of the police cars out there and you get to look inside them and look at all of their weapons and stuff,” Manuel said.

9 year old Ella Pitzer said she was waiting to be old enough for the camp and was excited to watch and pet the police K9s for her first time.

“I liked to pet the black dog because it was really nice and it licked my face,” Pitzer said.

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak called the program a ‘win-win’ for both the kids and his officers. He said while the kids have fun learning about police work, the interactions make the officers less intimidating.

“It’s a way for the deputies and the officers to interact with the youth so they can see we’re no different than anyone else. (We’re) just human beings,” Sheriff Duchak said.

Sheriff Duchak said the camp is becoming increasingly important for building community relations. He encouraged the campers to look past recent stereotypes emerging around law enforcement.

“There’s a negative portrayal and it’s completely opposite of that,” Sheriff Duchak said. “We want kids to feel comfortable approaching law enforcement if they need help or just to say hi and talk.”


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