NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - In the wake of recent national news, law enforcement along the Grand Strand took a stance to show locals they are here to help. Officers came together with the local community today as part of an initiative to show kids they don't have to be afraid of police.
"What has made this work . . . is a commitment by law enforcement to make things better. To work with the neighborhoods, and to establish relationships, and maintain those relationships," said Horry County Democratic Head Bennie Swan.
The Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee held the event, which is made up of members of both the Republican and Democratic Party. They say the message was easy to get behind. To make a safer community for kids and officers.
"You know what was nice about this? Kids here now are not afraid of policemen. They were playing with the policemen. They were engaged in activities, they talked and jumped around. Mark Lazarus, our chairman, was out there playing football. This is exactly the type of day that we were looking for," said Jon Bonsigner with the Republican Party.
Several agencies attended the cookout, including Horry County Fire Rescue, the Horry County Sheriff's Office, the Horry County Police Department, the North Myrtle Beach Police Department and the Myrtle Beach Police Department. Law enforcement officials played games with the kids and showed them how to do what they do, like how to put out fires, train police dogs, and be a part of a SWAT team.
"We learned about the SWAT trucks and the SWAT Team, and we learned that the vest is very heavy," said kids in attendance.
While this event was planned before the recent attack on police in Dallas and other police shootings, organizers said this is as good a time as ever to make the community stronger.
"Right now is a time of crisis for America and there's a disconnect between law enforcement and communities. So what we're trying to do is bring all the public safety and law enforcement officers together so they can interact with the children and try to reconnect," said Chief Deputy Tom Fox with the Horry County Sheriffs Office.
Members of The Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee said today was a massive success and they plan to hold more events just like it in the near future.