CAMDEN - In an effort to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the community, officers from the Camden County Police Department played dodgeball with 7th graders at Veterans Memorial Family School.
"Police officers are building relationships, positive relationships, with the youth in our city," said one officer. "This is great because they get to engage the youth in a fun way."
The department has hosted a number of like-minded events to foster an alliance with community members of all ages. They've hosted bingo, community clean-ups, and a basketball event.
Camden County School District Superintendent Katrina McCombs believes unique events like Thursday's dodgeball bout are necessary building blocks for a better, safer Camden.
Officers from the Camden County Police Department played dodgeball with 7th graders at Veterans Memorial Family School.
"I think for building this partnership, it helps when there are those negative experiences that may happen in the community, there’s a partnership, a relationship," McCombs said.
Ahmad Crosson, a 7th grader at Veterans Memorial Family School, is a first-hand endorsement the impact of police outreach programs.
"Interacting with police officers outside their uniforms is pretty cool because I think of them as like regular humans and not them on their duties doing their work. Now they’re just like regular citizens like me," Ahmad said.
Camden County's police force has received nationwide praise for their community outreach program, something many believe has helped improve crime in the often beleaguered city.