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Florence police officers visit parks and recreation youth summer camp

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:03 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - The Florence Police Department spent Thursday making a special visit to kids at the city’s summer youth camp.

Officers showed off their patrol cars and handed each camper backpacks full of school supplies.

“The easier it is to get to the kids in our community, the less crimes there are,” said Cpl. Oscar Merchant. “The more it helps us out, the easier it is to do our job.”

Merchant and Cpl. Jamey McCall spoke with the campers about safety, answering also answered questions about guns, high-speed chases, and K-9 units.

Merchant serves on the department’s Community Action Team, a group of officers who use community-oriented policing to gather information about the community’s needs.

“Chief (Heidler) has always implemented community first policing, so this takes it a step further and makes sure we actually implement it in the police department,” he said.

Merchant said community policing wasn’t a thing when he grew up.

He believes events like this show kids, police officers do more than just arrest people.

“It hits home because you’re actually doing a good job,” Merchant said. “Doing something special for these kids.”

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