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Annual ‘Cops ’N Kids’ event this Friday

VIDOR — A great summertime tradition spanning more than two decades will be held once again this coming week.
Sheriff Keith Merritt and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office will hold its 21st Annual Cops-N-Kids Picnic from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Friday, June 12, at Claiborne West Park in Vidor for children across the region. The event is free and open to the public.
The purpose of the yearly event is familiarize children with law enforcement and emergency personnel in a non-threatening environment and to show youth that police and other first responders are there to help them in times of need.
“The event allows children to bond with law enforcement and emergency personnel,” said Deputy John Badeaux of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s a day where we want children and families to come out and have fun. We want the children to feel safe and secure enough to know they can come to any one of us if they need to and talk to us, whether its a policeman, a firefighter or an EMT. We want them to know we are there to help.”
The annual picnic event offers a variety of fun-filled events and activities for children to take part in throughout the program. Personnel from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and local police agencies in Orange, West Orange, Bridge City, Pinehurst, Vidor, Rose City and Orange County Constables will be in attendance.
Also attending will be personnel representing emergency medical responders and fire departments who interact with children and answer any questions they may have.
Along with the medical helicopter, which is scheduled to land at 11:30 a.m., children will be able to see numerous vehicles and equipment up close-and-personal, such as firetrucks, cruisers, boats and a tractor. A highlight each year is when children get the opportunity to ride in a police cruiser around the back of the park.
Badeaux numerous vendors will take part in this year’s activities, including Gator Country, Celebration Station, Neighbor’s Emergency Center and Golden Triangle Emergency Center.
As attendance has grown each year, Badeaux said the event has been divided to accommodate the growing crowds with a “North Side” and “South Side” offering cold drinks, hot dogs, chips, snow cones, watermelon, cotton candy and more.
Along with the tasty treats, children can have fun on a rock climbing wall, superslides, a bounce house, or take rides on a wagon, horses or the kids train. There are also three facepainting stations this year instead of the usual one.
“We have 41 events and activities for children this year,” Badeaux added. “So there will be plenty to see and do and we hope everyone comes out for a great time.”