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Cops and Kids Picnic brings officers and community together

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We normally see them patrolling the streets, and fighting crime keeping Lawton and for some that can be intimidating.

That's why today Lawton officers joined the community at Elmer Thomas Park during the 44th Annual Cops and Kids picnic Saturday. Here the community gets a chance to meet the officers who keep them safe. Police hope the interaction makes officers more approachable making it easier for people to report crime and to come to them when they need help.

"A lot of times and I have comes across this personally, where parents will tell kids if they don't behave they are gonna call the police, and those children are raised with the belief that the police are there if they are being bad." said Lawton Assistant Police Chief James Apple

Apple admits while officers are armed with a gun can be intimidating at times, they want children to know they only want to scare the bad guys. And that outside of crime, officers are friendly and always ready to help.

"We want them to know we are here for them, and that we are approachable and that we are here to help."

At the picnic kids got to know their officers a little bit better while riding along in a cop car, watching the k-9 officer in full action-- realizing the men in blue can be a lot of fun and easy to hang around

"I like the fire truck the best because they go honk, honk." said Russell Hill

For Sergeant Chris Brown, Cops and Kids is an event he looks forward to each year. He says the interaction at the fun picnic and lights and sirens seems to win over even their toughest audience.

"Just so they know that we're very approachable its a time for us to have fun, let loose, not be stiff in our uniform it can be scary for the children, a lot of times kids are scared to come talk to us because they see all of our accessories on our duty belts all of our weapons and being in plain clothes it lets them know we're just like them." said Brown

The kids at the picnic said they have a better understanding of what they do for us and how important their job is.

Cops and Kids isn't just for the kids, for Sergeant Brad Delozier meeting the kids and making special bonds reminds him why he chose to be a Lawton police officer

"They come up to us and tell us thank you and we actually don't hear that much, so it's nice to hear that but it's nice to give back to them, it's all for them."

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