Bringing Our Community Together

Kids enjoy chance to ‘Chill With A Cop’

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By Bob Sofaly

A handful of children played with City of Beaufort police officers while being soaked down by Beaufort Fire Department on Friday at Southside Park.

The “Chill With A Cop” event, according the Deputy Chief of Police Darrell Gruel, is to help children and their parents see the police as and ally they can trust.

“We are trying to connect with the community and give them the opportunity to react with officers in a positive way,” he said.

City of Beaufort police officer Hillary Cottingham, right, dances with an unidentified boy while officer Ben Whitmore coaxes him with a football during Friday’s “Chill With A Cop” event at Southside Park.


Gruel said a different event will be held each Friday in different geographic locations between now until school starts to give every child the opportunity to interact in a positive way.

“We want to have one each Friday and then have something like a Movie In The Park event just before school starts,” he said.

Kids got to play in water sprinklers, play giant Jenga and badminton and get their faces painted by Officer Jenn Patrone, a “real cop” who got lots of help and suggestions from other children.

One unidentified child, about age 5 or 6, said, “this isn’t anything like TV” as he tried to dry the water from his face.

Judging from remarks made by other police officers there, that’s the whole idea.


Top picture: A lone City of Beaufort police officer plays badminton with a few boys during the first “Chill With A Cop” event Friday at Southside Park. Deputy Police Chief Darrell Gruel said different events are planned for every Friday until school starts and will be held in different geographic locations within city limits. The events, according to Gruel, are designed to help foster trust and in improve community relations. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

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