MIDDLETOWN—Juvenile Aid Office Jacqueline Welch is gearing up to offer Middletown school children a summer camp with the Middletown Police Department.
Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Christine Brinckerhoff brought the idea to the Common Council which approved the week long summer camp at their March 15 meeting.
Welsh, the department’s juvenile aid officer, said Brinckerhoff suggested the idea to her in early March. She thinks kids will like interacting with police in a positive setting. “They are going to be able to understand the role of the police officer as a community helper and a source of information instead of just seeing the negative side,” Welch said.
The summer camp will give police more access to the community through a positive interaction with the kids and indirectly, with their parents. “It will give us more resources with the community,” Welch said.
The week-long sessions are planned in August. The first week will have about 30 spots for third and fourth graders. The program will be the following week and accept fifth and sixth graders. Children must be Middletown residents and enrolled in a city school.
Welch will coordinate the academy. She said police officers from each department will participate including the detective bureau, the K-9 department, and the crime and narcotics units. “We are looking to have a member from each department be involved in the academy.” She said Chief Ramon Bethencourt is now in the process of selecting participants.
Welch is enthusiastic about her role. “I think it’s a great program. It gives us access to the kids and gives us positive interactions with the kids which we find very valuable.”
She said it is also an activity that gives the children something to do during the summer months “instead of just sitting inside.”
During this its inaugural year, the camp is planned to be small but Welch hopes it will grow and expand from there. The first session is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 1-5 Monday through Friday, followed by the next session the following week.
The location has not yet been determined, but Welch said the department is in the process of obtaining permits for a room in a school. “It should be in a school. That’s where the city does a lot of their city camps.”
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