Sheriff shares benefits, keys to successful Cops N Kid’s Picnic

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

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Sheriff Jimmy Lane Mooney said he and many other officers made the conscious decisions not to wear their firearms last week during the Orange County Sheriff’s Office 26th annual Cops N Kid’s Picnic.

“A lot of us, we don’t even go armed,” Mooney told Orange Newsmedia. “A lot of people are still kind of intimidated. A lot of us just took our guns off and intermingled with everybody out there. This event is a great deal for the community and the police to get together. We love it.”

It wasn’t a major decision, just part of many small efforts to create community outreach needed to connect law enforcement and local residents, especially children.

Last week’s picnic was the continuation of a tradition, according to Mooney, started by former Sheriff Huel Fontenot and Chief Deputy David Bailey.

Mooney said it is great to see the picnic continue to grow year after year.

“This is probably one of the best ones I have seen or been a part of,” he said. “It was really great.”

The community, and especially families with children, were welcomed Friday at Claiborne West Park.

Numerous law enforcement agencies, vendors, food choices and games contributed to the fun.

Mooney’s favorite part was visiting with local children.

“The kids will come up and say, ‘hey, man, can I get a picture with you?’” the sheriff recalled. “That’s great because a lot of kids are scared of police officers. If you have this type of environment and they see you as a friend, and not a foe, that is what it is all about.”

Mooney said Orange County is lucky to have officers who demonstrate their love of community on a daily basis.