Picnicking With Police July 22 at Civic Center

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

The annual July community event hosted by the Batesville Police Department at the Civic Center continues to grow in popularity, with city officials expecting record breaking attendance again next Saturday, July 22.

Picnicking With Police, started in 2018 by then Chief Jimmy McCloud, annually brings together groups and organizations in Batesville like no other event. Rotary, Exchange, and Civitan clubs, are joined by the Cotillion Club, Junior Auxiliary, Boy Scouts, Panola Partnership, and several businesses in the city to help police make the event a special day for children of Panola County.

Last year more than 1,200 people passed through the turnstiles at the Civic Center to enjoy the activities, games, and giveaways.

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“This community has a history of supporting law enforcement and first responders and it’s amazing to our department each year to see the enthusiasm from local citizens who volunteer their time to make PIcnicking With Police such a success,” said Kerry Pittman, Chief of Police.

“Community policing is not just a buzzword at our department,” Pittman said. “We truly believe that the best way to protect and serve our community is building relationships with the citizens and that’s the goal of this event.”

Pittman said the interaction between children and officers, and between their parents and officers, gives police a decided advantage in their efforts to form bonds with citizens for better policing.

“When the kids are crawling in and out of our patrol cars and blowing the sirens and playing with the lights, it seems like fun to them, but to us it’s something more important. To us, it’s the families in Batesville learning who we are and our officers getting to know them. It’s one of the best things we do all year and I thank each of the volunteers and businesses who make the day possible.”

Scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event features sack lunches (choice of hot dog or hamburger with chips and drinks), cotton candy, popcorn, bouncy houses, face painting, and opportunities to pick up giveaways from different offices and merchants who set up tables and booths on the floor of the Civic Center.

Oxford Police will again bring their mounted patrol unit, and DeSoto County is scheduled to bring their motorcycle corps. Batesville Police, Panola Sheriff’s Office, Highway Patrol, and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks will all bring vehicles for children to explore.

“We are inviting everyone to take part in Picnicking With Police and hope to see our biggest crowd yet,” Pittman said. “It’s a big day for our officers and they always seem to be encouraged by the show of support from Batesville’s citizens.