SOLEDAD — Soledad Police Department hosted its first Cop Camp last month for local youth, who participated in hands-on activities and team-building exercises with officers.
The April 9 camp was open to youth ages 9 to 17, and had a total of 80 participants.
According to Deputy Police Chief Fred Lombardi, the department’s Community Policing Unit wanted to bring Cop Camps to Soledad after seeing other police agencies throughout the state having them to “enhance positive engagement with the younger members of our community.”
During the Saturday session, youth engaged in a series of police and emergency responder demonstrations, as well as physical activities, including an agility course that tested their fitness.
The youngsters also received tours of the police station and jail, all while having an opportunity to speak with law enforcement personnel.
“We had great feedback from the participants, as well as their parents,” Lombardi said.
At the camp’s conclusion, the attendees were treated to a barbecue sponsored by the Soledad Lions Club. They were also awarded certificates for their attendance and participation in each activity, and received a T-shirt, backpack and other community policing items.
“Based on the success of this event, we are looking at future dates to have another one,” Lombardi said.
He added that the department was grateful for several sponsors who supported the camp, including the Lions Club, Brian Shaw of Sound Design, Anna Graham of Foods Co. and Pine Canyon Motorsports, which gifted the student crime scene kits for the CSI Unit hands-on station and the “drunk goggles” for the Traffic Enforcement Unit demonstration.
Soledad Public Works and Recreation departments also helped with the event.