Police event large success

Published 1:17 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019

By Jeremy Weldon

More than 1,200 people went through the turnstiles of the Batesville Civic Center for what Police Chief Jimmy McCloud said was an “awesome” Picnicking with Police event Saturday.

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“It was just amazing,” McCloud said. “It was a very diverse crowd and all the volunteers came together like only Batesville people can do.”

Local civic clubs, charitable organizations, and churches joined for the annual event designed to be a fun day of games and activities that allow police officers to mingle with children and their families, hopefully building friendships that result in better law enforcement and ultimately less crime.

Some 1,100 hamburger and hot dog sack lunches were served, 1,000 bags of popcorn handed out, and hundreds of servings of Cotton Candy and cold drinks.

“Lots of seeds of good character and lots of seeds of good relationships were planted Saturday. Now we have to nurture those seeds and watch them grow,” said McCloud, whose emphasis on community policing includes a variety of outreaches throughout the year.

McCloud said the event would not have been possible without the complete support of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen and the many volunteers. “We didn’t have one complaint to my knowledge and not one negative point of feedback, and that’s because of the amazing help we had from the community. That’s important to us because we all want to make this city the best it can be.”

The chief said he had not yet spoken with EMTs who were on hand for any needed first aid, but said he believed they only “put on a few Band Aids” during the Picnicking event.

Kids and their families had a variety of activities to choose from, including bouncy houses, slides, games with prizes, and the ever-popular dunking booth. “Somehow when it was my turn to get in the dunking booth every policeman in Batesville got in line,” McCloud said.

One highlight of the day was the police cruiser wrapped in pink that will hit the streets the week to raise donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and especially for cancer research. The Ford Explorer with the special wrap will be around the city for the rest of the summer and individuals are encouraged to sign the car in memory of a cancer victim or in support of a cancer survivor.

McCloud said officers will park the vehicle in high-profile areas, and he has also encouraged businesses and offices to contact the Police Department to have the vehicle brought to a specific location for a few hours.