Cops N Kids canceled due to weather

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016

By Dawn Burleigh


Orange County Sheriff Keith Merritt announced the annual Cops N Kids event originally scheduled for Friday has been canceled due to the grounds at the park saturated with water from all the rain the area has received this year.

“We made the decision at 1 p.m. today,” Merritt said during Orange County Commissioners Court Tuesday meeting. “We would do more damage to the park.”

Relocating the event to the Orange County Convention and Expo Center was considered according to Merritt.

“It is to late to move it to the Expo Center,” Merritt said. “The event would take the entire North parking area which would leave the busses parking on 1442.”

Concern for the safety of children walking along the road to reach the center was a deciding factor for not relocating.

Merritt also said the option to postpone the event was considered.

“The 14-day forecast shows more rain again next week,” Merritt said. “Also, it is not fair to the daycares to try and get parent approval in short notice.”

The annual event held at Claiborne West Park would have been the 22nd Annual Cops ‘N Kids Picnic with over 2000 youths anticipated to attend.

This year is the first year the event has been canceled while Merritt has served as sheriff.

“The lake is overflowing at the park,” Merritt said. “The snakes are coming out looking for dry grounds. The safety of the kids comes first.”

“The main concern is the safety of the children and we could not, in good faith, continue with the picnic without putting the kids at risk. Many of our exhibits utilize large equipment and vehicles that would not be able to maneuver around the wet grounds and they would be forced to park on the roadway – limiting the access in and out of the park,” according to a press release from the Orange County Sherriff’s Office.

Merritt said they hope next year to make the event bigger and better than ever.