BRUNSWICK, Md (WDVM) — In an effort to build bridges in the Brunswick community, city police are swapping uniforms for life vests.
“A lot of times we’re dealing with the negative aspect of people every day and to get out and do something positive like this, it’s really great for us,” explained Lt. Keith Donovan with the Brunswick Police Department.
On Tuesday, seven officers with the Brunswick Police Department made their way to the nearby Potomac River with their new partners for the day- five local kids from the community for the second run of the Kids, Cops, and Canoes event.
“We are going to canoe from the campground to point-of-rocks and me and my sister went on this last year and we had a blast,” said participating 14-year-old, Allison Wade.
The event began in 2017 but was rained out last year. But on Tuesday, the weather held up for a calm day on the water.
Once paired up and onboard, Donovan says it’s all about staying afloat and getting to know your paddle-partner.
“I talk to them like a parent, just kind of see what they’re into, see what they enjoy, see how we can better interact with them just as a person,” said Donovan.
And for Wade, it’s a relief connecting with an officer when they’re out of uniform and off-duty.
“I don’t have to worry about them being on the job, and them interrogating me because that’s what it feels like when I’m talking to a cop and they’re in their uniform. It’s just like “What’s going on at school? What’s going on in life? How’s life for you?” Wade said.
Police hope the one-one-one connection leaves these kids with a better impression of law enforcement.
“[We hope that] it makes them a little bit more comfortable approaching us and that if they ever have any kind of problem, they can come talk to us no matter what and not to let the uniform scare them,” said Donovan.