Cops & Kids Day ‘a success’

Published 6:08 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The loud honk of a fire engine and shrill police sirens reverberated through the air Saturday in Greenville, but there was no emergency. The Camellia City’s police officers, first responders and their vehicles were all on hand in front of the GPD station on Administrative Drive as part of the inaugural Cops and Kids Day. 

Recent rains held off to allow local families the opportunity to talk with Greenville’s finest, from members of the Special Response Team (SRT) like Byron Russell and Lionel Davidson, to Kristi S. Sexton and Christy D. Sexton, the animal control officers who pick up and care for stray and abandoned animals at the city/county shelter.  Little Aria Bush of McKenzie delighted in visiting with the two handsome canines napping in the shade, local homeless dogs who had secured new homes in Florida through the officers’ efforts to pair them with a rescue group.

“They are going to be spoiled rotten,” said Kristi Sexton with a grin.

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One line of children waited for a chance to be fingerprinted as part of a special ID kit, while other kids lined up to have their faces painted by volunteers April and Courtney Gregory, with some assistance from Russell’s daughter, Kalee.

Those in attendance also got the chance to take home goodies bags and check out the interiors of police cruisers, fire trucks, the Life Flight helicopter, an ambulance and the SRT van. Officers and first responders gave demonstrations and answered questions about the equipment used by law enforcement officers, fire fighters and paramedics while on the job.

Theo Bullard clearly enjoyed chowing down on one of the freshly grilled hot dogs served to attendees, while his four-year-old sister, Talia, waited patiently for her turn to be finger printed.

“This is definitely something I wanted to do,” said Theo and Talia’s mother, Angela Kelly.

Cedric Morris, Jr. and Kevin Henderson, Jr. were sighted trying out what it feels like to sit in a cruiser, wear an SRT helmet and hold one of their shields. They also learned about firefighting equipment and  just how the Jaws of Life work to extract passengers involved in serious traffic accidents.

Justin Lovvorn, Greenville’s police chief, who acted as the event emcee, announcing drawings for Lego giveaways and directing attendees to a fresh batch of hot dogs, said he was pleased with how the day was going.

“When we planned this first event, we wanted something pretty informal where people could look and ask questions, and get familiar with people they see in uniform every day,” Lovvorn commented.

“We want folks to realize that, like everyone else, we have a job to do. It’s been about what I expected—an informal day and everybody having a good time. And I’d say we lucked out weather-wise.”