Cops, kids a winning combination

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2005

SELMA Times-Journal

Children played on inflatable “moonwalks,” parents collected free school supplies, NBA player J.R. Smith gave out autographs and everyone enjoyed the free food.

“We’re doing great,” Selma Police Chief Jimmy Martin said. “Everybody’s enjoying themselves.”

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It was the 10th year that Selma celebrated Cops and Kids Day at Bloch Park, according to Martin.

More than 500 people showed up for the event, which was also an appreciation day for hurricane evacuees.

Det. Dorothy Cowan, coordinator for the Selma Police Athletic League, said she was contacted about the event by the national PAL organization.

“They called and asked ‘Why don’t we have a Cops and Kids Day and combine it with an appreciation program for the evacuees,'” Cowan said.

The national PAL brought in NBA player J.R. Smith of the New Orleans Hornets.

More than 100 city employees were part of the event, along with representatives from the Alabama State Troopers, the Selma Fire Department and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, according to Martin.

Officials gave out school supplies, backpacks and free food all day long.

Luckily, Cowan said, the weather cooperated through most of the event.

She said even if it rained, the event wouldn’t have been canceled because this year’s event included a water slide.

“They’re going to get wet anyway,” she said.

However, the rains didn’t hit until about 2:30 p.m., a half hour before the day ended.

“He’s a good God,” Cowan said of the weather.

Martin said that even with all the fun, the program served a practical purpose as well.

It gave kids a chance to see law enforcement officials in a positive light, Martin said.

“To get them used to the (idea) that police officers are here to help them,” he said. “That way it will set a standard for our young people that they will come up and respect policemen and be able to talk to them.”